Dog With An Enlarged Heart – When To Euthanasia?

There is a cost involved in everything. Even loving someone. With a heavy heart, I must say there is a price involved in loving a pet especially, a dog. That price is the devastation that you face after they are gone. There can be many reasons for the loss of a pet. A disease or a condition is just one of them. Simba was a brave dog. An email informed us of the life of Simba and how brave he had been. Simba bravely fought cancer but life was not easy for him. He succumbed to congestive heart failure. The couple told us how depressing it was to see him suffering from yet another condition after cancer. They were hoping if they had euthanized the dog on time, they might have saved him from sufferings. This motivated us to write about dog with enlarged heart, when to euthanasia?

Do Dogs Suffer Heart Attacks? 

This might come to you as a shock, but yes, heart attacks do happen in dogs. This happens in cases when the heart chambers of your dog get blocked. In this case, it may experience a heart attack. In the case of an enlarged heart, the heart walls become so thin that they lose the ability to pump blood. This leads to a condition called congestive heart failure( CHF) also called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). The lifespan of a dog suffering from DCM depends on the cause behind the condition. Th cause decides if the condition can be treated or not. There is no cure for DCM. Only proper treatment and care can make the poor thing stay alive.

However, in the majority of cases, the dogs have succumbed to DCM. This is because the inability to pump blood leads the dog to cough. A coughing dog is prone to getting lungs filled up with water. In this case, the dog often doesn’t last. The lifespan of the dog suffering from DCM is from 6-14 months depending on the cause.

Causes Of Dog Heart Failure?

There is no one specific cause of congestive heart failure in dogs. The most common reason for DCM in dogs is age. With growing age, the walls of the heart weaken. In fewer cases, it is seen that the dog might be born with the disease. 

Can Heart Failure in dogs Cause Cough? 

If your dog is suffering from left-sided congestive heart failure, it will lead to coughing. The coughing can become a serious threat to the dog with heart failure disease. In worst cases, the cough might be accompanied by blood.

Treatments OF Enlarged Heart Disease In Dogs

Dog With Enlarged Heart

The diagnosis of heart failure in dogs requires a lot of tests. This includes electrocardiograph, radiograph, CBC profile test, etc. Once the disease is diagnosed the vet recommends medications, diet, and exercise accordingly.

  •  The medications help the heart wall function and will keep the blood flow in place.
  •  Exercise too is an important aspect of the heart. However, the dog must not exercise much. Only what the vet recommends.
  • Diet is another crucial factor to look at while treating heart failure in dogs. Supplements to give your dog the extra strength. Also, a diet that is low in sodium is a must.

When To Euthanize A Dog With Enlarged Heart?

We are depressed to inform you that the disease cannot be cured and there is not much that you can do. The dog may survive for a few months with proper treatment but a majority of the pets succumb to it. The disease is so severe that it comes with a lot of pain and suffering. The dog may suffer from continuous and painful coughing. Not only coughing, but the dog also has a swollen belly and is weak for the rest of its life.

So how to decide dog with an enlarged heart when to euthanasia? There is no one answer to it. Euthanasia may sound kind when you put an end to the suffering of the dog, but the after-effects are devastating. There is always a ‘what if’ involved.

What if the dog wanted to live? What if the dog was wanting to fight? To live a little longer? And what if you do not euthanize and the dog is suffering? 

As you can see there is no one answer. There is guilt involved in both. The only way to get an answer is to understand the wishes of your dog, the quality of life it is living, and the recommendation of your vet. 

The question of a dog with an enlarged heart when to euthanize is a cruel one to decide and dog heart failure is a tough situation to deal with. May God help you!

Kavita Trivedi

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