Evaluation for fluid accumulation

Right-sided congestive heart failure promotes abnormal fluid accumulation within body cavities or, usually less noticeably, in the subcutis of dependant areas. Palpation and ballotement of the abdomen, palpation of dependant areas, and percussion of the chest in the standing animal are used to detect effusions and subcutaneous edema. Fluid accumulation secondary to right-sided heart failure is usually accompanied by abnormal jugular vein distention and/or pulsations, unless the animal’s circulating blood volume has been decreased by diuretic use or other cause. Hepatomegaly and/or splenomegaly may also be noted in cats and dogs with right-sided heart failure.

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