View Full Version : Irregular heart beat

30th January 2009, 02:45 PM
Hi all,

A bit of a traumatic day - we had a planned visit for the vets for pre-op checks prior to neutering in the next few weeks for both our boys. Just before we went Tanner's back leg seemed to be giving way with some involuntary kicking - never has happened before. Anyway it had stopped when we got to the vets who could find nothing wrong, prescribed rest and a watchful eye. So far so good. Then when she was examining Whiskey she said his heart has an irregular heart beat - could not hear a murmur. She has left it to us to see if we want him to have a heart ultrasound scan. Just looking to see what other owners would do, when there are no other symptoms. He is 9 mths old. Tanner is getting neutered next Friday, we were not planning to do Whiskey until April anyway. Any thoughts, experiences welcome.

30th January 2009, 02:47 PM
My vets have said before that this sometimes happens simply because a dog gets overexcited or is anxious -- it isn't really an irregular heartbeat. If you are concerned I'd get a scan. My vet thought she heard the occasional irregular beat once with Leo but never has since -- and she is very good at hearing heart issues.

31st January 2009, 09:51 PM
If a dog has a suspected arrhythmia, the test that should be done is an electrocardiogram (ECG or sometimes called an EKG) NOT an ultrasound (echocardiogram). Echo gives no information about arrhythmias. Many inexperienced vets will hear a sinus arrhythmia (irregular heart rate associated with breathing (inspiration/expiration) and think that is an abnormal finding. Most Cavaliers have a sinus arrhythmia. This is a perfectly NORMAL finding. I can give you quotes and page numbers from cardiology textbooks about this if you'd like. If your vet recommended an echo rather than an ECG, then I would have some questions about her experience/ability. If you have access to a cardiologist to do an auscultation, I'd let him/her determine if further testing is warranted and let the specialist do the test. Was the vet suggesting that she do the ultrasound or a specialist?

Pat Beman
Atlanta, GA

1st February 2009, 02:14 AM
My ruby had an echo at 10 months - I had him checked by a cardio and she thought it could be a functional murmur but couldn't say for sure so I just went ahead with the echo (I wanted to start doing agility with him, so I definitely wanted to know if something was wrong)

I would get a consult with a cardio regardless - it never hurts to know one when you have cavaliers right?