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Dr. Shannan
Dr. Shannan, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23
Experience:  Full time small animal practice since 2005. Completed small animal medicine/surgery internship
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Our dog has a very fast heart beat even when she is laying

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Our dog has a very fast heart beat even when she is laying down for several minutes, her body is tremmering very, very slightly, and her stomach is gurgling. She hasn't eaten since breakfast so maybe she is hungry by now. We can't find anything she may have gotten into. She seems normal other than that, but this morning we think she may have had a mild seizure and took her to the vet. They checked her out very thoroughly and seemed to think everything was ok. Should we take her to the vet again? Money is tight and if we don't need to we would really prefer not to, but if it's necessary we will. Thanks.


Just a few quick questions so I can do my best to help you. If you count how many heart beats your dog has in a 30 second period, what do you get? Also, what did the seizure look like this morning (i.e. was she tremoring, vocalizing, lose control of her bladder, lose consciousness or remain responsive to you) , approximately how long did it last, and was your dog normal immediately afterward, or did she seem disoriented for a period of time? Sorry for the barrage, but these questions may help me determine what you are currently dealing with.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Her heart beat right about 83 times in 30 seconds. She was running around the yard, started to hack, and then she was heading for the patio inside when she fell forward and over on her right side. It looked like she tried to get back up but couldn't and then my boyfriend immediately ran out and picked her up and she was stiff and tremoring by the time they got back inside she was responsive but she looked mildly disoriented. By the time we got inside the vets office she seemed normal again. They screened her blood and everything came out normal.

Thanks for the info. It must have been pretty scary to see something like that happen to your dog! What you saw definitely could have been a seizure, but it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a seizure in a dog, and syncope (which is essentially fainting). Causes of syncope are usually related to the heart not pumping enough blood to the brain. The result is not enough oxygen gets to the brain, and the dog will faint. Sometimes this can also lead to a seizure.


Your dog's heart rate is very fast (166 beats per minute). For a dog the size of a boxer, the normal resting heart rate is around 80-100. If your dog was just exercising, I would not be too worried about this number, but if she continues to have a rate this fast while resting, I would be concerned. Boxers have their own type of heart disease that is called "Boxer Cardiomyopathy". The disease is characterized by abnormal electrical activity in the heart, and often you will get a fast and irregular heart beat. Given that your dog's episode this morning happened after exercise, and that she was coughing just before makes me concerned about a possible heart problem.


The way to diagnose this disease is to have an ECG tracing done. Sometimes the irregular heart beat can come and go (which is why the vet may have not picked it up this morning), and sometimes your dog needs to wear a holter monitor (which is a monitor that records and ECG for 24 hours). An ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram) also may need to be done. Usually this needs to be done by a veterinary cardiologist.


There are other possibilities for what is going on with your dog, but a heart problem is something I would definitely want to rule out. Unfortunately, this means that I do have to recommend that you have your dog checked again by a veterinarian. It is difficult to say whether or not you have to rush back in to the emergency clinic though. If your dog seems stable (i.e. gums are pink, dog is bright and alert, eating and drinking), then it is probably something you can make an appointment for tomorrow with your regular veterinarian. If however, your dog appears lethargic, is coughing, or has pale gums, cool extremities, or is not interested in food or water (when she normally should be), I would recommend that you go back to the emergency clinic.


In the meantime, I would try to keep your dog rested - don't take her for long walks or get her worked up until you have seen a vet again. Also, if you have a video camera, you may want to keep it handy, and if your dog has another episode, try to record it and bring it with you to the vet. This can be very helpful in making a diagnosis.

I hope this information helps, and I hope everything works out with your dog. Please let me know if you have further questions.



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The information in this post is not meant as a diagnosis, and can not take the place of an examination by a veterinarian.

Dr. Shannan and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok thank you for your time and effort! We appreciate it very very much!!
My pleasure. I really hope she's ok!