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Cardiac Arrhythmias in Dogs

Despite having no obvious conditions and leading healthy lives, some dogs may develop an irregular heartbeat. Here, our vets in Westminster talk about arrhythmia in dogs, the causes and symptoms, and how it can be treated and managed.

About Arrhythmia in Dogs

Arrhythmia in dogs is an abnormality in the heart's rhythm, which can include the speed, strength, or regularity of heartbeats. It generally is caused by unusual electrical activity in dogs’ heart muscles, which can come from congenital issues from birth or from something that has occurred in your dog's life.

Some breeds appear to be predisposed to sinus arrhythmia, most notably brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs, Lhasa apsos, Pekingese, pugs, Shar Pei, Shih Tzus, and boxers.

If your dog shows signs of having an unusual heartbeat, then you must contact your Choice Veterinary Specialists vets to diagnose any health conditions your dog might have and begin treatment right away to avoid long-lasting side effects. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for arrhythmia in dogs.

What are the causes of cardiac arrhythmia in dogs?

Some of the commonly seen causes of cardiac arrhythmia in dogs are:

  • Birth
  • Age
  • Injuries
  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Congenital heart abnormalities (present from birth)
  • Heart disease
  • Diseases that affect the vagus nerves
  • Cerebral disorders
  • Conditions that cause pressure within the skull

What are some of the common symptoms of heart arrhythmias in dogs?

If your dog is experiencing an irregular heartbeat they can have many different symptoms, including:

  • Weakness
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Long pauses between heartbeats

What are the different types of cardiac arrhythmias in dogs?

Dogs of any breed or age can develop arrhythmias but some types are more common in specific breeds. Some of the different types of heart arrhythmias in dogs are:

  • Ventricular Arrhythmias
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Sick Sinus Syndrome (Sinus Node Disease)
  • Heart Block
  • Myocarditis

Treatment Options for Irregular Heartbeats in Dogs

Treatment will differ depending on the type of arrhythmia and the breed of your dog. Some possible treatment options are:

Complete a physical exam where the vet will listen to your dog’s heart using a stethoscope.

Your dog may be sent to the cardiology department where they will undergo an electrocardiogram. Sometimes, there is a need to record the electrocardiograms and monitor them for 24 hours. The 24-hour monitoring period is necessary to determine the frequency and severity of the rhythm disturbance.

The management of an irregular heartbeat in dogs is very important to their overall health and treatment should continue and include determining the correct dose of medications if needed.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have any questions about your dog's upcoming cardiology appointment please contact our veterinary team in Westminster.

New Patients Welcome

Choice Veterinary Specialists is accepting new patients. Our experienced veterinary specialists are passionate about improving the health of Westminster animals with complex healthcare needs. Contact us today.

(303) 424-6423 Contact