Brave Pet of the Month - Cody
We discovered that Cody had developed an irregular heart rhythm at a routine health check. This had us very concerned...
We discovered that Cody had developed an irregular heart rhythm at a routine health check. This had us very concerned, especially because as a Great Dane he is predisposed to heart disease. We performed an electrocardiogram (ECG), which is a test that tracks what the electrical signal that makes the heart beat is doing. Cody was on his best behaviour, staying as still as he possibly could while we did the test! The ECG allowed us to determine that the two small heart chambers that bring the blood into the heart from the rest of the body were functioning normally, but the larger two chambers that pump blood out of the heart were acting oddly every few beats. This abnormal behaviour of the large heart chambers is what we could hear with our stethoscope.
Having confirmed what type of abnormal heart rhythm we were dealing with, the next step was to see whether Cody had any structural heart changes that were causing these abnormalities. This is important information as, along with the type of irregular heart rhythm present, it determines what type of medications may be required to treat Cody’s heart condition. To do this we first performed chest xrays, looking for whether there was any generalised enlargement of the heart and the large blood vessels in the chest. It also allows us to check whether there’s any fluid starting to accumulate in the lungs. This fluid accumulates in pets who are in heart failure. Luckily, none of these changes were present. We also performed an ultrasound of Cody’s heart, checking for any changes present within the heart. Thankfully, there were only very mild changes present, and nothing that requires treatment at this stage!
We will continue to see Cody back on a regular basis for heart checks, keeping an eye out for any progression of his heart condition. His mum is also diligently counting his sleeping breathing rate at home. If this increases, it will indicate that fluid is starting to accumulate in his chest and we’ll know about it as soon as possible and will be able to start treatment. With early detection, regular health checks and monitoring at home, we hope to keep Cody’s heart healthy for a long time!