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Atrial Fibrillation in Dogs: Treatment and Monitoring

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Vol 7 - Issue 4
Written by Brigite Pedro DVM MSc DipECVIM-CA (Cardiology) MRCVS
and João Neves DVM MRCVS
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Atrial Fibrillation in Dogs: Treatment and Monitoring

Atrial Fibrillation in Dogs: Treatment and Monitoring

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia seen in dogs. It can occur in any condition where there is significant atrial stretch, with mitral valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy being the top two causes. Atrial fibrillation in dogs typically indicates that there is advanced and marked underlying cardiac chamber dilation but it is occasionally seen in the absence of cardiomegaly, the so called “lone” AF. Atrial fibrillation is a rapid and disorganised discharge of electrical activity from the atria with a variable ventricular response rate, which results in the erratic and irregular rhythm. Where the AF heart rate is fast and/or where there is a low cardiac output, dogs will be symptomatic and AF management is indicated. Rate control is the initial treatment of choice where there is underlying heart disease; based on recent retrospective studies, good control of AF with an improved survival and prognosis may require rate control to <125bpm. In addition to medical management, electrical DC cardioversion may be an option for some dogs which can revert them back to a sinus rhythm; this requires no or minimal structural heart disease for the greatest chance of success. AF can be managed readily in general practice and good quality of life can be expected.

 

All our Tutored Online CPD Courses are written and taught by an expert in the relevant field. The tutors for this course are:

Brigite Pedro DVM MSc DipECVIM-CA (Cardiology) MRCVS

João Neves DVM MRCVS

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