Since CHF occurs in stages and can be caused by many different factors, diagnosing it can require many tests. Vets may listen to your dog’s heart for irregular sounds or rhythm, listen to their lungs, and examine their veins and abdomen.2
Vets may also use diagnostic tests — like X-rays, ultrasounds, urine and blood tests, and electrocardiograms (ECGs) — to examine the heart’s health or see what other conditions are causing the heart failure.2
Treating CHF depends on what’s causing the heart failure — that’s why tests are so important. While you may want to spare your dog from all the testing, a proper diagnosis can mean the difference between treatment that works or doesn’t. However, it should be noted that treatment won’t cure heart failure.
In addition to addressing underlying conditions that may be causing heart failure, the goal of treatment is to improve heart function, control blood pressure and heart rhythm, improve blood flow, and reduce the amount of blood entering the heart before it contracts.1 Treatment for CHF in dogs can include medications, lifestyle and nutrition adjustments, surgery to withdraw excess fluid from affected areas, and cough suppressants.
Due to the fact that treatment depends on the cause, the cost of treating congestive heart failure in dogs can vary widely.
Depending on the stage of CHF, your dog’s quality of life can vary. While early stages may not affect their quality of life too much, later stages may impact it greatly. It’s important for you and your vet to evaluate how well your dog is living and their level of comfort over time, especially after a diagnosis.
Proper treatment can go a long way when it comes to how comfortable your dog is. You can also adjust their level of activity based on what they’re capable of doing, reduce stress or anxiety as much as possible, and feed them a heart-healthy diet based on your vet’s recommendations.1
Dogs who get an accurate diagnosis and receive proper treatment may be able to live a normal life for months to years.2 However, your dog’s age, health, and response to treatment can impact their prognosis.
The stage of CHF, severity of symptoms, and your dog’s quality of life can eventually bring about a hard question: When should you euthanize a dog with congestive heart failure? While there’s no definitive answer, talk with your veterinarian. Along with your everyday observations at home, your vet can use test results to help you evaluate your dog’s quality of life.
No one wants to see their pet suffer — and congestive heart failure can be a difficult condition for you and your dog. Fortunately, MetLife Pet Insurance can help. With our customizable dog insurance policies, you can get reimbursed for covered expenses. This can make it easier to get your dog the diagnosis and treatment they need to give them the best prognosis.
MetLife Pet also offers grief counseling4 for when tough decisions are made, as well as burial and cremation coverage. We’re pet parents too, and so we strive to make a difficult time just a little easier for you. Don’t force yourself to choose between your best pal’s care and your budget. Enroll in a dog insurance policy today and be more protected for tomorrow. Get started with a free quote.