Researchers Cure Rare Heart Arrhythmia In Dogs Using Radio Frequencies

A Golden Retriever who might have heart arrhythmia

(Picture Credit: stonena7/Getty Images)

Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, can be common among dogs. Some dogs who experience sinus arrhythmia do not even show symptoms. Sadly, there are also rare, life-threatening types of this condition. That includes the type caused by atrioventricular accessory pathways (APs).

Labradors are the most commonly afflicted breed that suffers from arrhythmia caused by APs. As a response to this condition, Morris Animal Foundation funded research to develop a new treatment.

And there’s good news. The researchers cured the condition, and the way they did it is pretty amazing.

A New Treatment Developed From Human Cardiology Procedures

The new, minimally-invasive treatment uses radio frequency catheter ablation, developed by Dr. Kathy Wright and her MedVet colleagues. Furthermore, this method takes notes from human cardiology procedures and currently holds a 95 percent success rate in treating dogs for the rare arrhythmia.

“Accessory atrioventricular pathways are one of the more common causes of rapid heart rhythms in young dogs. We were pleased to prove they are curable with radio frequency catheter ablation,” said Wright in an interview with Science Daily.

As a result, the new treatment takes away maintenance medications and hours of veterinary checkups normally needed to treat this condition. It’s a one-step solution that now cures a relatively dangerous illness.

Wright and her team tried the procedure on 89 dogs with the condition. The study had 23 breeds in total, though most of the dogs were Labradors. Researchers administered the treatment by threading a catheter into each dog’s heart and delivering radio waves on the APs.

The dogs each received the treatment, as well as 16 hours of monitoring. Of the 89 dogs, only three dogs needed a second treatment, while the rest were cured on the first try.

Why AP-Related Arrhythmia Is So Dangerous

Shown here is a very happy yet very sleepy 12-year-old Yellow Labrador Retriever laying on a hardwood floor with his ears down. This friendly old dog weighs in at 100 lbs. Model release on file.See other related images here:

(Picture Credit: HKPNC/Getty images)

AP-related arrhythmia has been studied since the late 90s. Older dogs sometimes exhibit this rare condition. These dogs usually have a structural heart disease. Additionally, for cases of younger dogs, the diagnosis can be tachyarrhythmia, or a rapid heart rate.

AP-related arrhythmia may cause very rapid heart rhythms in dogs, which can then lead to a congestive heart failure or death. That’s why this condition is so serious, and the cure is so amazing.

Symptoms Of Arrhythmia

There are a variety of symptoms that one can watch out for in dogs with AP-related arrhythmia. These can include the following:

  • gastrointestinal distress
  • lack of appetite
  • vomiting
  • extreme fatigue

If these symptoms appear, then you should consult your vet right away. Symptoms can also sometimes appear similar to those of heart-related issues.

What do you think of this minimally-invasive treatment that can cure AP-related arrhythmia? Sound off in the comments below!

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