Heart Arrhythmia in Dogs

Heart arrhythmia in dogs

When we think about heart arrhythmia, most of us normally think about human heart and the heart problems. Since the man’s best friend is dogs, many diseases and disorders commonly affect both human and dogs, where heart arrhythmia is not an exception. Heart arrhythmia in dogs refers to the condition occurring due to irregularities and abnormalities in the heart’s electrical impulses. It occurs in dogs when there is an abnormality or disturbance in the normal heart rhythm. It commonly occurs in dogs of all ages, breeds and sex. However, large dog breeds are more commonly affected by this condition. Boxers and Doberman are more likely to develop ventricular tachycardia and Labrador retrievers are exposed with greater risk of having supra-ventricular tachycardia. The heart of dog begins to beat too slow or too fast or beats too strongly or too weakly.

Causes of heart arrhythmia in dogs:

The condition is caused due to unusual electrical activity in the dogs hears muscles, which result in arrhythmia. The irregular and unusual electrical activity is caused due to congenital abnormalities in heart, genetic issues like predisposition, severe trauma in the chest, infections in the chest cavity like heartworm, specific types of breed, toxin ingestion, etc. Further, heart arrhythmia is dogs are caused due to all underlying diseases and complications associated with heart.

Other causes of heart arrhythmia in dogs include the following:

• Fast or slow heart rate

• Strong or weak heart rate

• Difficulties in breathing

• Loss of appetite

• Unconsciousness

There are no apparent or evident symptoms of heart arrhythmia in dogs and it can be detected only by check up with veterinarians.

Types of heart arrhythmia in dogs:

Heart arrhythmia in dogs are classified into two types namely tachycardia and bradycardia.

Bradycardia: It is the condition of arrhythmia where the dog suffers from the inadequate supply of oxygen and the slow heart beat. Both these conditions makes the dogs get confused and sometimes the dogs feel dizzy, which is caused due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain. Eventually, it leads the dogs get faint and gets collapsed.

Tachycardia: It is condition characterized by the rapid heartbeat. Rapid heartbeat results in heavy breath and it makes the dog appear lethargic and weak. The condition with rapid heartbeat should be diagnosed and treated immediately because it might quickly turn into irreversible heart damage.

Both the types of heart arrhythmia in dogs are diagnosed by an electro cardiogram, where by evaluating the electric movements and patterns of heart, the condition is detected. Further, echocardiogram is also conducted to diagnose any underlying heart condition.

Treatment of heart arrhythmia in dogs:

Veterinarians prescribe drugs and medicines help in regulating the heart muscles and bringing back the heartbeat level to normal. The medications used to treat heart arrhythmia in dogs include the calcium channel blockers, beta blockers and digoxin. Further, based on the type of arrhythmia, electric shock treatment is also provided, only when the health of the dog is found to be in a good condition. In most cases, heart arrhythmia is a harmful condition, which does not require any specific treatment. However, the condition may turn too serious, when associated with heart diseases, in particular congestive liver failure. Further, dogs with heart arrhythmia are kept under the direct supervision and observation of the veterinarian.

After treatment, the pet owners need to take utmost care about the health condition and the diet until the dogs recover completely.

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