Congestive heart failure can have a variety of different causes but ultimately results from the heart’s inability to effectively pump blood throughout the body. Any condition that affects heart function can result in congestive heart failure. It is characterized by blood and fluid accumulation in and around the lungs and can also result in fluid accumulation in the abdomen. 



Heart failure is generally diagnosed based on clinical signs, history, and the presence of fluid in the chest and/or abdomen on X-ray. However, in order to better characterize the underlying cause for congestive heart failure, your veterinarian will likely recommend additional diagnostic tests, such as:


Treatment of congestive heart failure is based on increasing the amount of available oxygen and removing excess fluid from the body. Most patients in congestive heart failure require aggressive treatment and may need to be hospitalized for stabilization. Once the condition has been resolved, regular medication will likely be necessary to treat the underlying cause. Congestive heart failure generally carries a poor prognosis, and most patients previously diagnosed with congestive heart failure will likely experience it again.