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petdrz., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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I have a 6 1/2 yr old female schnauzer. She fainted last week

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I have a 6 1/2 yr old female schnauzer. She fainted last week and has never done this before. Took her to the vet who said her iron was low. Kept her a couple of days and ran a test to see if it was Addison's disease. The test came back negative. I went to pick her up, she fainted again. The vet then thought she may have Sick Sinus Syndrome. She has fainted approx 10 times in 5 days. An ECG & an xray was performed of her heart and both were fine. No murmurs or enlargement. Sunday(yesterday) she has not had any more fainting spells and is starting to eat a little. Can you please advise what I need to do for her? My next option has been advised of the possiblity of a pace maker? Today(Monday) she is doing okay. I just do not know what steps to take next. I am worried sick!
Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Gracie today. I'm a veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy to work with you but need a bit more information in order to better assist you if you don't mind.

Why is Gracie taking the antibiotics and steroids?

Did she have other bloodwork run besides the iron? Was everything else normal?

Did she have any symptoms leading up to the fainting?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She is taking antibiotics as a prevention as the vet did not know. Her sodium and cortisol was low. That is why the vet put her on the steriods. Blood tests were run on everything from what I know and all came back okay. A different test was run to see if she had Addison's but it came back negative. She threw up once last Sunday and was very low key and did not want to leave our side on Monday, but we did not really think much of it at the time. Tuesday was when she begain the fainting.

Thank you for the reply.

It sounds as if your vet is doing a very good workup and ruling out the most common castes for a young dog such as this to develop these type of symptoms so acutely. I am glad to hear that the fainting episodes have ceased at least for now.

Her symptoms are suspicious of Addison's disease, but if the test that was run was an ACTH test (which I am assuming it was), it is hard to get a false positive. Most dogs that present in an Addisonian crisis, do not faint and then get better, only to faint again and again over the next few days.

Based on her breed and the symptoms, sick sinus syndrome is more likely. A random strip on the EKG may not pick it up and the abnormalities seen may be more intermittent in which case a holter monitor that measures the rhythm over 24 hours may give a better picture as to what is occurring. There is also a test where a drug called atropine is given and the effect on the heart rhythm is monitored. This can be used a means of confirming the diagnosis. Sometimes these can be managed medically, and maybe that is why she seems improved now, but some dogs do progress to the point that a pacemaker is needed to better manage the rhythm abnormalities. In any case, it would be a good idea to work with a veterinary cardiologist at this time to get a specialist's input to more thoroughly diagnose and offer treatment suggestions. Here is a link with more information about sick sinus syndrome and it's treatment. LINK HERE

I hope this is helpful. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back with additional questions or concerns and I will be happy to continue. Kindly rate me when you are done. Thank you for allowing me to assist you.

Dr Z

petdrz. and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you kindly for the positive rating. It is truly appreciated.

Good luck with Gracie. Please keep me updated as to how things are progressing for her. I will check back with you in a few days to see how she is doing.

Dr Z
Hello Jennifer,

Just wondering how things are going with Gracie. Has she had anymore fainting spells.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns that I can address.

Dr Z

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