What does a congestive heart failure cough sound like in a dog?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Congestive heart failure (CHF) in dogs can manifest in various ways, including a distinctive cough. The cough associated with CHF is often described as a “moist” or “productive” cough. It typically sounds wet, with a rattling or gurgling quality. This is due to the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, which occurs as a result of the heart’s inability to effectively pump blood.

The cough may be more pronounced during periods of physical activity or excitement, as the increased blood flow and exertion can exacerbate the fluid buildup in the lungs. It may also occur when the dog is lying down or at rest, particularly at night.

In addition to the wet, gurgling sound, the cough may be accompanied by other symptoms of CHF, such as difficulty breathing, rapid or shallow breathing, and fatigue. These signs can vary depending on the severity of the heart failure and the underlying cause.

It’s important to note that not all coughs in dogs are indicative of CHF. Dogs can cough for various reasons, including respiratory infections, allergies, or even foreign objects lodged in the airway. Therefore, a thorough evaluation by a veterinarian is necessary to determine the underlying cause of the cough.

When evaluating a dog with a cough, the veterinarian will consider the dog’s medical history, perform a physical examination, and may recommend further diagnostic tests, such as chest x-rays, echocardiography, or blood tests. These tests can help differentiate between CHF and other potential causes of the cough.

A congestive heart failure cough in a dog typically has a wet, gurgling sound due to fluid accumulation in the lungs. It may be more pronounced during physical activity or at rest, and is often accompanied by other symptoms of heart failure. A veterinary evaluation is necessary to determine the underlying cause of the cough and develop an appropriate treatment plan.