Could pastern vasculitis cause an irregular heartbeat? Not all the time, it can be normal for say five minutes, then goes very fast for minute or so then either misses a beat or three and goes back to normal or goes very slow for a bit. At the moment it's doing it when she's lying down, always while REM sleeping within about 10 seconds of her sleeping (when i've been listening anyway), but is also irregular on and off when she's not actually sleeping. I don't know whether it does it while she's standing. She's a three year old filly. Vet saw her couple weeks ago and it was normal then (although she was standing). Not sure when it started but sometimes if i see her lying down i go and sit with her for a bit, and a few times over the last few weeks she's been sleeping and i've heard her heart start pounding loudly, so when it did it last weekend i listened with my ear and that's what i could hear. I haven't seen her down all week but yesterday she was down and it was still doing it plus it was irregular sometimes when she was lying there awake/snoozing. Also just lately if the slightest thing spooks her her heart starts pounding loudly. Anyone else's horse had anything similar to this?
Horses drop beats and have extras ALL THE TIME. It is considered normal.
Nothing you're describing, in and of itself, sounds even remotely abnormal, but if you are really concerned there are much easier ways for vets to check horse heart rhythms now than there used to be. Ask the vet.
Thanks for your reply deltawave. I did ask a vet, he didn't reply so i guess thats why! When it speeds up its doing 79 beats per min then either skips some beats and goes back to normal or sometimes slows right down to 32 beats, just seemed strange as having listened to her heart on and off for months i've never heard it doing it before.
I wouldn't be alarmed if the horse is behaving normally. A resting heart rate in the high 20s is perfectly normal, and horses drop lots of beats even on top of that low rate when they're sleeping or resting. By the same token, their hearts have an incredible capacity to rev right up immediately if the need arises. Even something like hearing a car come down the driveway if it's close to feeding time can double their heart rate (my own observation, LOL) and with activity their capacity is incredible to go from 20 to 200!
On the other hand, my gelding was diagnosed w/ atrial fib at 17 it had clearly been there for a while. It never has hampered his ability to perform, but I rested much easier after a cardiac evaluation. (though it was a bit scary to watch on the monitor screen.....)
I'd be tempted to chart this filly for a little while - ie time of day, what she is/was doing, etc. If she is doing any work, that would also be a good time to check and note. Then talk to vet again. Cardiac ultrasound is not a big deal to do; we have a mobile diagnostic vet in our area who did my gelding a year or so ago, just to see what's changed in 5 years...
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........
I find this thread really interesting. My TB has an "irregular" heart beat I guess, I always thought it was from his high grade heart murmur. As soon as I bring him away from his buddies he has an increased heart rate, sometimes I can feel it when I put my hand on his chest or girth area. But when he's just out with his buddies and I check then, it seems normal (in the low 30's). Of course whenever my vet takes it it is in the high 40's-50's because 1) he hates the vet and 2) he's in the barn in the aisle away from his buddies. But hearing this convo is making me rest easier.
They could also be sinus arrhythmias, you will notice it correlate with the inspiration/expiration. Its more evident in sleeping/laying down horses when they are relaxed and taking deeper breaths. Nothing to panick about
My 4 year old was recently diagnosed with a atrio-ventricular block. The heart drops every 4th beat. However, when excited and sympathetic stimulation kicks it, it's gone. TOTALLY normal for creatures with a large heart, says the vet.