ASK THE VET WITH DR. JEFF LACROIX
OWNING a pet can often be a puzzling experience. National ENQUIRER columnist Dr. Jeff LaCroix — a top veterinarian — answers readers’ questions about their furry friends.
Our 15-year-old beagle has congestive heart failure. Drugs helped for a while, but we are losing the battle. What else can we do?
Congestive heart failure is usually due to valvular heart disease or “leaky valves.”
The heart is essentially two pumps side by side.
When the valves are working properly, 100 percent of the blood moves forward with each contraction of the heart muscle. As the valves begin to leak, the efficiency drops off. Sadly, this is a mechanical issue. New valves are needed. Since this is not an option, drugs are used to slow the
heart to allow the chambers to fill more efficiently. Other drugs are used to increase the force of contractions. Diuretics are used to pull fluid out of the congested tissues. Eventually these efforts will not be enough to overcome the problem. I wish I could give you better news.