Arrhythmia In Dogs: Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

Do not think that only people suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Diseases of this system can also appear in four-legged Pets. A common disorder is arrhythmia. In this disease, the process of contraction of the heart muscle is disrupted. The rhythm can accelerate, slow down, there are alternations of such periods, there may be a short-term cardiac arrest. It is important to detect such a disease as soon as possible. In the early stages, recovery is much faster, no cardinal techniques are required.

Factors that provoke the appearance of arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is not always a consequence of heart disease. It is often a concomitant disorder caused by diseases of the kidneys, stomach, and the presence of a malignant tumor. The following factors can contribute to the appearance of the disease:

  • lack of food, water for a long time;
  • overheating, hypothermia;
  • physical impact on the chest area;
  • predisposition peculiar to a particular breed.

Prolonged lack of food and water leads to General exhaustion of the animal, blood clots, and metabolic disorders. As a result, there are failures in the heart. It is clear that a caring owner will not allow such an irresponsible attitude to the dog, but it is necessary to exclude such dangerous factors as overheating and hypothermia. If the dog will be in direct sunlight for a long time, you need to protect his head with a children’s Panama hat or scarf.

In winter, you can not leave a short-haired pet tied for a long time.

An arrhythmia can be caused by a blow to the chest area. If there is an injury, the dog is physically affected, within half an hour you need to monitor the heart rate, make sure that there are no violations. There are breeds whose representatives are most often diagnosed with arrhythmia. These include boxers, Labradors, and Dobermans. These Pets should be brought to the veterinary clinic for cardiac examination every year as a preventive measure.

Dog ECG

Symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is an insidious disease. It is quite difficult to determine it at the beginning of development. For the most part, it is detected accidentally during a diagnostic examination, prescribed because of a disease, or during preventive examinations. But attentive owners have the opportunity to notice signs of arrhythmia in the pet.
When there are failures in the rhythm of heart muscle contraction, blood flow is disrupted, and cells begin to experience oxygen deficiency. In addition, the process of removing decay products slows down, which leads to the accumulation of toxins. Externally, this may be expressed:

  • increased fatigue;
  • reduced mobility;
  • loss of appetite;
  • shortness of breath, shortness of breath;
  • fainting spells.

Any of these symptoms should be the reason for contacting a specialist for diagnosis and treatment. It should be understood that poor-quality supply of oxygen to cells, the accumulation of toxins for a long time can lead to death.

A common type of arrhythmia in dogs is extrasystole. This disease is a consequence of the formation of an additional center with electrical activity. It sends out impulses that cause extraordinary contractions of the heart muscle. The reason for the formation of the center is ischemia, congenital heart disease, myocarditis. The main symptom of the disorder is a cough. If the pet has such a symptom, you should contact the veterinarian immediately. Extrasystole often leads to death.

Dog owners can check their heart rate without using special equipment. You need to feel the tremors on the left side between the third and fourth ribs, count the heartbeats per minute. A normal pulse is considered to be in the range from 65 to 125 beats. But you need to consider the size of the dog. The larger the animal, the slower the heart muscle contraction rate. The frequency can be accelerated if the dog barks or worries when measuring the pulse.

ECG in a dog

Diagnostic tests

A veterinarian can detect arrhythmia using an electrocardiogram. This examination is painless and easily tolerated by Pets. ECG results are not sufficient to prescribe treatment. It is necessary to determine the reason why the heart rhythm is disturbed. The full diagnostics includes:

  • ultrasound examination of the heart;
  • chest x-ray;
  • laboratory analysis of blood and urine.

But if the veterinarian suspects the presence of an underlying disease that provokes arrhythmia, additional examinations of the relevant organs may be prescribed. One of these diseases may be heart failure. The rhythm is disturbed due to diseases of the digestive system, increased intracranial pressure, lung diseases, brain diseases, etc. After receiving all the diagnostic data, the specialist analyzes them and selects an effective treatment.

Sometimes arrhythmia is observed intermittently, manifests itself in the form of short-term attacks. In order to determine these failures, daily monitoring of the heart is carried out. A special device is used for this purpose. The Holter is fixed in the area of the dog’s chest. It records your heart rate around the clock. The veterinarian checks the record made, determines when the pet has violations in the contraction of the heart muscle. This allows you to choose a productive treatment.

Dog at the vet

Treatment of cardiac arrhythmia

The type, complexity, and duration of treatment of cardiac arrhythmia depends on the causes of the disorder and its stage of development. If the diagnostic examination showed that failures in the contraction of the heart muscle are caused by diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, brain, and other organs, treatment of the underlying disease is selected. Arrhythmia in this case passes itself after the elimination of the provoking factor.

More complex cases are associated with diseases of the cardiovascular system. If the arrhythmia is their consequence, first of all, these diseases are treated. Hospitalization is necessary only if respiratory failure is detected, which requires the connection of special equipment that provides forced oxygen supply. In other cases, outpatient treatment is provided. After recovery, the dog is prescribed arrhythmia treatment, which can be used:

  • diltiazem;
  • digitalis;
  • atropine et al.

Treatment of heart diseases does not always provide the desired result. In advanced cases, with congenital pathologies, therapeutic courses do not eliminate the problem. In such cases, surgery is required. A pacemaker is installed that controls the process of heart muscle contractions.

Not every arrhythmia requires treatment. Rhythm disturbance in dogs can be a temporary phenomenon caused by overload, stress, or other causes. In this case, the pet’s body will cope with the problem itself, restore heart function. But this phenomenon should not be ignored, arrhythmia can be a symptom of a serious disease.