Irregularly formed heartbeats or a high heart rate are defined as cardiac arrhythmia.
Cardiac arrhythmia – as well as valvular disease – progresses slowly while usually producing less obvious symptoms. One of these less obvious symptoms is a momentary loss of balance. In some cases, dogs may suddenly collapse during exercise, only to regain their upright balance shortly afterwards. Other symptoms involve tiredness, lethargy, and an intolerance to exercise.
Prolonged medical treatment, inflammation of the cardiac muscle as well as viral or bacterial infection may lead to arrhythmia. A predisposition towards developing the condition may also be inherited. Unfortunately, in many cases the causes of cardiac arrhythmia often remain hidden and are hard to identify.
Arrhythmia can be diagnosed through an ECG (or EKG) – an electrocardiogram, which monitors and prints the electric activity of the heart muscle over a defined period of time. Suitable medication is chosen based upon the nature of cardiac arrhythmia present.
Consult a veterinarian if you are suspecting that your dog is suffering from cardiac arrhythmia.