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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Condition Overview

Arrythimias are irregular or erratic heartbeats. Normally the heart beats at a steady pace. This changes with activity or rest but is almost always a regular rhythm. Abnormal rhythms may be slower than normal (called bradycardia) or faster than normal (called tachycardia).


Affected dogs may show anxiety, weakness, lethargy or even faint.


Many things may cause irregular heart rates and rhythms, including increased potassium, hormonal influences, certain cancers such as hemangiosarcoma, and heart diseases such as cardiomyopathy.


To diagnose these problems, your dog will need an EKG (electrocardiogram, sometimes called ECG) and possibly a cardiac ultrasound evaluation. Your veterinarian may decide to have your dog wear a special heart monitor for 24 hours if the abnormality is infrequent.


Treatment may include various drugs to regulate the heart rate or rhythm. Some dogs benefit from having a pacemaker implanted.


There is no prevention for this condition.


Please contact your Veterinarian with questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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