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Irregular Heartbeat

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  • Irregular Heartbeat

    Hello there, I'm requesting some jingles for my horse, Shipley. I just bought him one month ago. I did not do a ppe as I really love his personality, he was cheap, and I'm not competetive so if my horses turn out to be pasture puffs that's okay with me. Vet was going to clean my horse's sheath, so in case he needed sedation she did a routine physical. Well, she discovered an abnormal rythm. Said he was skipping a beat every fourth beat or so. She had someone take him outside and jog him up and down the driveway. She said at that point it became very elevated and very erratic. He's going at 9 AM tomorrow morning to see an equine cardiologist. I'm not looking forward to it at all. I don't want them to tell me there is nothing they can do for him. So please just send us some good energy. He is underweight, which I've been working on, but other than that he shows no symptoms. I've been riding him and he was used in a lesson program before I bought him. He even went on paperchases and long trail rides before I bought him, and I'm surprised he never showed any signs of exercise intolerance or anything. Well, I'll be holding my breath until tomorrow.

  • #2
    Hang in there. Horses can have all kinds of weird, irregular heart rhythms and many of them are considered "within normal limits". It really depends on a) what the actual rhythm is, b) whether it's affecting the horse during activity and c) if the heart is otherwise healthy.

    You may find that it's "much ado over nothing". I hope so.
    Click here before you buy.

    Comment


    • #3
      My QH had an irregular heartbeat for a while. It was about the same time he was diagnosed as being very low/ nearly deficient in selenium. Selenium affects muscles and the heart is all muscle. It's been a few years of him on high Se doses and annual Se testing and he's never had the irreg heartbeat since that time.

      Sounds strange I know, but when the horse is being seen by the cardiologists - have a Se blood test done too. It could be related.

      (sometimes I feel like a broken record about selenium testing... but I am just amazed at what that mineral affects.

      Comment


      • #4
        The heart may be "all muscle", but the part that ISN'T muscle is what is responsible for the heart's rhythm: nerve/specialized conduction tissue. NOT muscle. That's not to say that selenium deficiency couldn't possibly affect the heart--it can--but it would be pretty obvious by EKG/cardiac exam/echo. Can't hurt to add the blood test, I guess.
        Click here before you buy.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
          The heart may be "all muscle", but the part that ISN'T muscle is what is responsible for the heart's rhythm: nerve/specialized conduction tissue. NOT muscle. That's not to say that selenium deficiency couldn't possibly affect the heart--it can--but it would be pretty obvious by EKG/cardiac exam/echo. Can't hurt to add the blood test, I guess.
          Okay. that's good to know. It was a strange occurence and the vet and I really were grasping at straws I guess. He even had me listen to the extra ker-thunk that was there every 3rd or 4th normal hbeat.

          I have an abnormal EKG... I didn't know it and during one visit to a new dr, they performed an EKG and when they saw it was abnormal sent me by ambulance to the hospital!! EEGADS... what a nightmare that was. It turned out to be nothing and later we found that an EKG taken 4 years earlier showed the same abnormalty. Had another one 3 years after the 2nd... the abnormalty is still there. but I have a normal heartbeat.

          Comment


          • #6
            Some people are just born with EKGs that don't fit "inside the box". These abnormalities usually mean virtually nothing, but they sure do scare a lot of people. Including doctors! Usually we just wind up saying "it's normal--for you".
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
              Some people are just born with EKGs that don't fit "inside the box". These abnormalities usually mean virtually nothing, but they sure do scare a lot of people. Including doctors! Usually we just wind up saying "it's normal--for you".
              Yup. And I now carry copies of my abnormal - normal for me EKGs with me, along with my med alert for drug allergies. sigh.

              to the OP. I surely hope that this is nothing to be alarmed about and your horse is determined healthy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Do horses exhibit PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contactions)? That skip followed by a *ka-thump* sounds like it. My EKG shows a couple of "anomalies" that will send an EKG tech into panic mode if I don't forewarn them. I've been told mine are something you die with, not from.

                There was a horse at the barn they called "Flatline" because his heart would stop beating for alarmingly long periods when at rest. He got along fine with moderate exercise.
                The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                Winston Churchill

                Comment


                • #9
                  FrankB, they can have VPCs, but the weirdest and IMO the coolest thing that horse hearts do is second-degree AV block. This is a fancy way of saying the conduction impulse, that starts at the sinoatrial node in the atrium, doesn't get all the way to the ventricle. In any other animal, this is probably not a good thing (although some types are worse than others) but horse hearts actually do this on purpose, as a way of regulating their blood pressure.

                  (can you tell we just finished cardio and I'm excited to show off my newfound knowledge? )

                  And OP, hope they found something benign. Please update us when you can!
                  ~Nancy~

                  Adams Equine Wellness

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good luck, I'll be thinking of you & your horse.
                    Do not panic.
                    My horse had atrium fibrillation (irregulat heartbeat) a year or so again and we managed to treat/convert him.
                    He continues to have triscusped regurgitation, but it's not affecting his current workload, he's been doing great since the conversion.
                    Good that you will have him checked by a cardiologist.
                    MEGA jingles from NJ, keep us posted.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      McV, you GO girl!
                      Click here before you buy.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks SO much everyone. You are really making me feel much better. I really appreciate it. I did manage to speak with my vet again, and after she spoke with cardiologist they are leaning towards atrial fibrillation. The thing that concerned my vet the most was that the irregularity got worse after exercise instead of going away. Thanks for the jingles and I will post after our appt. tomorrow morning.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Personally I have major heart issues. I wouldn't want my horse to have any so major jingles coming your way from Mass!
                          To ride or not to ride; what a stupid question!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Again, horses can be converted from Afib. My horse was converted with Quinidine. The electro cardio version was not recommended seen his size.

                            But remember even when left in Afib horses can perform. Courtney King's horse Mythilus did his Olympics this year whilst in Atrial Fibrillation. I don't know whether they have since converted him or not.
                            A cardiologist will be best to advise what to do.

                            Jingling for you too!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Skipping every fourth beat, with an otherwise regular rhythm, doesn't sound like AF to me. I'll be very curious to hear what the vet cardiologist finds! Please do keep us posted.
                              Click here before you buy.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Well, I can breathe a sigh of relief! It is atrial fibrillation. But you are correct deltawave, it didn't sound like it because I misunderstood the vet. I thought his heart was fairly regular at rest, but it wasn't. It was just very low (found out today that is a good thing) and was skipping beats. At first local vet thought it was 2nd degree block? But it's not. We saw a very nice cardiologist this morning and it is atrial fib but she doesn't even want to convert it because we are not doing racing or any other long periods of galloping. He also has never shown any signs of exercise intolerance, so she recommended to just leave it alone. It won't affect his life span and it will not lead to other problems for him. I must admit it was a little strange standing there staring at his heart on the ultrasound screen and watching it stop beating though! I mean, it seemed like a LONG time. I kept looking at him like, you aren't going to fall over, are you? But doc was unconcerned. My horse behaved very well, so it was a great day. Yeah! Thanks for all the jingles, they worked!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Great news, and I'm glad you got an answer. Horses' resting heart rates are really slow anyhow, compared to us, and with AF the slower-than-usual parts are really SLOW! I hope he remains healthy and happy with his conscientious owner. What else did the echo/ultrasound show? Horse hearts are so dang COOL.
                                  Click here before you buy.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    That's good. Happy to hear he got the clear to continue on.
                                    We were also adviced to leave him in Afib for a low level dressage horse.
                                    We got him converted after we literally dropped on our knees and begged the cardiologist to at least try. He converted back and is doing great, BUT that being said we know he can go back in Afib at any time and if this happens we will also not attempt to convert him again but leave him in Afib.
                                    The only reason we were so desperate to at least try, was because we knew the exact day he had gone into afib and conversions are most succesfull within the first 4 months of onset.
                                    If we hadn't known how long he'd been like that, we would also have left him.

                                    There are more horses out there living happy active lives in Afib without probs, so you can relax over him especially since he shows no exercise intolerance. And again look at Mythilus, he showed at the highest level!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks guys! We have no idea how long he's been in A fib, so that's why we decided to leave it. If I knew the exact date he started I would probably want to convert as well. I'm glad your guy is doing well Lieslot. Deltawave, yes the ultrasound was really cool. The doc was showing me a lot of different things but she was using huge words and I must say I felt a little "undereducated", HAHA. I was able to clearly see the blood swishing in and out of his heart. I saw a bunch of valves opening and closing. Could see the actual contractions (or lack thereof at times), yikes! She also showed us on the ultrasound how they check for leaky valves and disease with a colored area. Red and blue meant good, white meant a leak. She also showed us how she was measuring his heart to make sure it was the right size. There was also an audio portion where we could hear the blood pumping while she was checking for a murmer. Very educational, even for my horse, who kept turning around to see the monitor! But I definitely understood the part when she said he'll be fine! Good day for us!!!

                                      Comment

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