View Full Version : Colleen Passed Out!!! Scared me to death

26th June 2009, 04:37 PM
Colleen passed out yesterday! She scared me to death. I was about to put her in her crate and something was a miss. She all of a sudden took about 9 short gasping breaths and then fell over, legs in the air. I had no idea what to do. I calmed her and she was still alert. I called the emergency vet and rushed her over. She had just been there on Monday for her check-up and nothing was found. They checked her chest x-rays, ecg, blood and ultrasound against the ones she had 3 months ago and nothing has changed. No fluid build up anywhere. She still has a leak in one of her mitro valves, which i knew. but it remains unchanged. So now she is wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours. I don't know what to do, i am hoping it was just a freak thing. Has anyone else had this happen?? She is a normal healthy dog, accept for the heart which we are monitoring.

26th June 2009, 05:07 PM
Sorry to hear this. It might be her heart - what grade murmur does she have? {Although I have always been told to be guided by symptoms rather than grade} It's great that you have the facilites to have a 24hr heart murmur - that is not something that is available to us here.

It could be an arrhythmia in the heart - but the monitor should pick that up.

Another possible is Episodic Falling Syndrome - maybe have a look at this site http://www.episodicfalling.com/

I hope Colleen will be ok - sending healing thoughts.

26th June 2009, 05:35 PM
Colleen is 10 years old, with a 5 out of 6 mumur. That is the horrible part. Otherwise, she is in excellent health. I just love her to pieces!! I am wondering what they'll pick up on the monitor.

26th June 2009, 05:54 PM
Oh bless her it is scary with these oldies :(

Sometimes if they are very excited that can cause them to pass out like that. {when they have a bad murmur}

26th June 2009, 06:02 PM
I am sorry about your scare. I hope they figure out why it happened so it doesn't happen again. It must have been sooo scary. :hug:

26th June 2009, 06:32 PM
This was most likely a syncopal episode - google canine syncope. Below is a link to Rod's cavalier health site:


Syncope due to heart disease can be from an arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) or from low blood pressure/lack of forward flow of blood because the heart is too weak to pump strongly (lack of oxygenated blood reaching the brain). It can also be due to pulmonary hypertension often found in advanced heart failure. The Holter monitor can be of two types - one is an event monitor which will record any irregular heart rhythm and the other type is a continuous monitor that will keep a continuous record for 24 hours. This is an ambulatory ECG (electrocardiogram) and is looking for abnormal heart rhythm. Depending on what is found, there are various antiarrhythmia medications that can be used. (Be warned though, I've had dogs on a Holter monitor and no events occurred for the period they were hooked up, so you may not learn anything.)

I can't remember - are you using a cardiologist or an internist? Is she on heart meds? Usually arrhythmias aren't present in mitral valve disease until it is pretty advanced and the heart is very enlarged. On the echocardiogram, you report backflow from the mitral valve, but the test should also give results about size of the heart chambers and whether or not there are complications such as pulmonary hypertension. All of this info will help determine what meds can be added/adjusted to help.

There are many, many dogs in the yahoo canine CHF group that experience syncope - it is pretty common. I've witnessed it just a couple of times in the 10-12 dogs I've had with acquired valvular disease - in one case it was multiple syncopes in a shih tzu who had advanced pulmonary hypertension (but only moderate valvular disease). Another case was a fatal arrhythmia in a 16 year old Peke who had VERY advanced valvular disease and a very enlarged heart. He died in his sleep which was not a bad way to go after a long life.

Please keep us posted!


Love my Cavaliers
26th June 2009, 08:59 PM
I hope you don't get any surprises from the 24 hour Holter monitor. Oz had to wear one when he was 6 months old for a heart murmur diagnosed at 4 months of age. His monitor recorded continuously for 24 hours and I had to keep a log of his activities so they could coordinate any events with his activity level. He was so little they had to use the cat one - the dog one was too large. While he had the monitor on, her refused to run, jump, play, walk around and even pee!!! He went 22 hours without a pee! He was such a baby, he thought he should just lie in his crate or my arms all day. Hope you get good news.

28th June 2009, 01:07 PM
The holter monitor was recording everything for 24 hours and I did have to write everything down. I should have the results in a week or so. Her enlarged heart is described as moderate - the left atrial and right heart w/ no change from 3 months ago in her x-rays and echocardiograph. All her cavity sizes are normal. Aorta and valve normal. The problems are with her mitral valve, mild to moderate regurgitation and the tricuspid valve with mild regurg. No fluids collecting around the heart. I do agree that it was probably a situational syncope. Right now she is on a beta blocker heart study. We are watching her very carefully. Because there wasn't a change in her heart disease, all the numbers have remained the same. I am keeping her on the study. She does have a cardiologist, and the neurologist also looked at her to make sure it wasn't neurological. I can call them at anytime with any concerns I have and they will check her over. I am watching her very closely and if I feel there is a change in her mood, or they find something on the holter monitor my thoughts may change about keeping her on the study. But right now that is what I have decided. It is very difficult having 2 elder dogs. But I feel very lucky that I have them each day. Polka is 14 and has had problems, I have posted about this. Her meds are working and she is no longer in pain. Colleen has a bad heart, but she has stollen a huge part of mine. I will continue to do the best i can for her as long as I can. And I am learning each and every day. The day I came home from Colleens emergency and I still didn't know what was going on. A couple walked by with a cavalier they had just picked up the day before. I warned them, get health insurance. They said we checked out the breeder and all the the records were researched. I said that is great, but i recommend pet insurance. you may think i am crazy, which i am sure they do. But i don't think all new owners know what they may be in for. I guess we shall see.

28th June 2009, 06:54 PM
I should have the results in a week or so.
There's no particular reason that the results should take a week - the cardiologist just reads the recorded tape......I think chances are that there won't be any abnormalities found.
There is a possibility - if she is on the beta blocker instead of the placebo - that she experienced a drop in blood pressure that caused the syncopal event. I would keep a diary and record any signs of weakness (esp. if she's never shown this before) for the study.

I understand what you mean about costs for elderly dogs as I've had multiple elderly dogs at the same time for the past 15 years or so (current dogs are 14, 12, 9 and 6). But at this point I choose not to have insurance on them since premiums for older dogs are so high - I recently did an analysis and I spent far less this past year than I would have had I paid insurance premiums (for a good plan that pays for inherited diseases). On the other hand, if I brought in a middle aged rescue, I'd consider insurance for the first year or two until I could make certain I wasn't dealing with any very expensive undiagnosed condition such as SM.


28th June 2009, 09:07 PM
I agree that if she is on the beta blocker that the cause of the fainting was possibly the medicine. It is not hard to listen to a dog's heartbeat with a stethoscope-easily heard as far as rate goes. Beta blockers, along with dropping blood pressure, will slow the heartbeat. if you can listen with a stethoscope to her beat you will be able to assess her reactions to the medicine. If she would be on the regular beta-blocker (not extended release) she will achieve a nice rate within a half hour-if you can listen to it you will know if it is too slow. Also with these medications some times side effects occur weeks down the road. I'm sure they told you about fatigue and dizziness that can occur-again with a relationship to blood pressure and heartbeat. :xfngr: that she is stable.

30th June 2009, 04:15 PM
Really interesting and insightful discussion that I know will be of help to many with heart issues in their cavaliers. I hope Colleen is OK after that fright and the meds can be adjusted if needed.

On insurance -- I tend to recommend it for those with one or two dogs and/or if paying for an illness would be crippling. With three or more dogs I probably wouldn't insure but put money monthly into a nest egg for the dogs. I have two insured, two not insured, and so far the insurance company is way out winning on the deal even with one SM dog covered (haven't done surgery on that dog).

It's also about comfort levels and risk and how far one personally would wish to intervene, etc.