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ARVC - 1 diagnosed, 1 likely about to be diagnosed (long but please read)

Discussion in 'Dog Health issues and questions' started by luvmybxrs, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. luvmybxrs

    luvmybxrs Boxer Buddy

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    So Thursday sucked. I got up, got ready for work, my husband is in the military so he goes out before 6 then comes home around 7, until he goes back to work at 8:45am. My boys (Kato 9, Loki 10.5) always get super excited when he comes home, they jump around the kitchen and lick him and paw him, but Thursday morning was different. After his initial excitement I was standing in the kitchen attempting to calm them down and Kato collapsed, he melted to the floor and his legs went out from underneath of him. Somehow I was close enough to start catching him as he was falling and ended up with him on the floor, I thought he was going to have a seizure. His head was swaying side to side as I held him, my husband said his eyes had nystagmus (moving side to side) and his back legs twitched a little. It lasted a couple of minutes and I seriously thought he was going to die right there in my kitchen. I was a mess, sobbing like a child. I should add - I'm a veterinary technician so I see stuff like this one a somewhat regular basis but when it's your own baby, your child, it's totally different.
    A couple of minutes go by and he gets up, wagging his tail, like nothing has happened. He went to lay on the couch so I took my stethoscope and listened to him, his heartbeat sounded irregular and he had drop beats, or pulse deficits - where the pulse you feel in a femoral artery doesn't match up with the heart rate you're listening to in your ears from the stethoscope. This led me to believe he had experienced a syncope or fainting episode but still it could have been a mild seizure so I took him to work with me for monitoring.
    April 17th, we took his brother to the clinic I work at for an ECG as he had a weird reaction to a medication. Since I always take both of them everywhere, I did one on Kato too. Both showed Ventricular Premature Contractions (VPC) so we had the ECG evaluated by Idexx lab who confirmed and said likely ARVC. We then did an echo on each dog, same suggestion given through Oncura telemedicine. We then scheduled an appointment with Texas A&M Cardio which wasn't until June 19th, about 7-8 weeks away. In the mean time we did a holter, which showed some VPC's, ran lab work which turned up an essentially normal CBC and chemistry (AST was 8 range 16-55), T4 0.9 (1.0-4.0), Free T4 1.0 (0.6-3.7), cTSH 1.73 (0.05-0.42) TGAA (thyroglobulin autoantibody) 98% - positive is anything over 35%, Troponin 0.3 (0.2 or higher is elevated) He had already previously tested negative for the genetic test for ARVC.
    Considering all this, his reg DVM consulted with Idexx over the phone who advised he be seen at the ER at A&M to try and see a cardiologist sooner, so we went to the ER at A&M and he had an ECG and Echo there. ECG again showed frequent multifocal VPC's, and Echo showed a structurally normal heart, no murmur, trivial amount of mitral valve regurgitation, everything else seemed to be normal. Kato was prescribed 80mg Sotalol twice a day and we will keep our original appointment on the 19th and use it as a recheck appointment for him. The ER vet and cardiologist diagnosed him with ARVC based on his age, breed and arrhythmia. This will be Loki's initial cardio appointment, he also had an ECG with VPC's, which then showed up on his holter too.
    Concerning Kato, His T4 was low and he was positive for the Thyroid autoantibody. Idexx lab mentioned that dogs with low thyroid can have an arrhythmia but in his case they thought it was actual heart disease not thyroid, however they didn't mention the TGAA result, only the T4 and cTSH.
    * Do any of you have any experience in boxers with ARVC who have been diagnosed with autoimmune thyroiditis? If he needs thyroid meds I want him to have them, but if he doesn't then I don't want to mess with something else.
    * Did any of your dogs on Sotalol have any side effects when they first started? He seemed to be real blah and slept a lot the first couple of days however he does seem to be perking up again now.
    * Did any of you get diet recomendations for your Boxer with ARVC - mine eat The Honest Kitchen base mix with ground, cooked, turkey meat, probiotics, coconut oil, fish oil, benadryl and pepcid (for prior mast cell).
    * Finally, when does the pain of knowing they could instantly be gone go away? :( It sucks because even with all the cardiologists in the world, all we can do is try and minimize their arrhythmia's through meds, it's not like there is a cure and that breaks my heart as I will do anything for my boys.
    If you made it this far, Thank You so much and I'd love to hear your thoughts on my boys health and condition. I've never had a boxer with ARVC and didn't expect to so I'm new to this disease.
    Again Thank You, from one Boxer Mom to Another (or dad :) )
    Picture: Loki - Brindle, Kato Fawn (this was Loki's 10th birthday last October)
     

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  2. Jan

    Jan Reasonable Moderator Staff Member

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    I am sorry to hear about Loki and Kato. Fortunately, I don't have any experience with heart disease. I suspected the Moto died of a heart attack. He was only 5 years old and died very suddenly. We were outside and he didn't come when I called him. sadicon I finally found him lying on the grass, still warm to the touch, but there was nothing I could do. I always wonder if I had seen it happen, that I could have given him CPR and he would have lived. Please make sure that you and your husband learn CPR for dogs, if you don't know already.

    I am sending lots of positive vibes your way. ----->>>>>
     
  3. Roge

    Roge Boxer Insane

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    Sending tons of positive <<< vibes >>> your way.
    I know only too well that it's hard not to worry !!! But Life is such that you just don't know what the next day , hour or minute brings so don't live in fear of the worst case sinario or it will destroy the good times ..
     
  4. Gatorblu

    Gatorblu Boxer Insane

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    You have pretty much described my boy Thor. He had an MCT and developed a lump about a year later. A the time he had his MCT we discovered he was hypothyroid. He was in pre-op for surgery when they noticed a seriously irregular heartbeat. Not only did they skip surgery but booked us an appointment with cardiologist 2 days later. Scared wouldn't even begin to describe how I felt. I had lost my first boxer about a year and a half before to a heart attack and I just wasn't ready to face that again. The vet did an ECG and it showed some VPCs. The Holter went on, and it was torture waiting for the results. When they came it was not good. 13,000 irregular beats in one day. He went on SotaIol that day. (I am sorry, but I don't remember the dosage.) He was already taking .7 mg of Soloxine for the hypothyroid. With a follow up Holter a month later the results could not have been better. He only had 13 irregular beats! The meds wore working. He was 9 when this happened. He had another Holter 6 months later and it was still good. We did annual Holters after that. I think we upped the sotaIol once around the age of 11. By 12 we had another health issues and that effected his heart. His SotaloI was upped and that added another medicine that began with an M, but I don't remember the name. It helped to bring everything under control, but not as good as the last time. By now the mass on his spleen was getting large and crowding his organs. He was 12 and half when he passed away, and it was the mass that got him, not his heart.

    I know what you are going through is very scary. Remember to stop and breathe. Your pup will feed off your energy, so if you relax he will relax. I am sending positive, healthy (((vibes))) for both Kato and Loki, and calming ones for you. Please keep us posted as to how things are going.
     
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  5. luvmybxrs

    luvmybxrs Boxer Buddy

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    @Gatorblu it was probably Mexilitene - that's one they commonly combine with the sotalol. I took Kato to work with me a few days after his initial visit to A & M and his ECG looked better. Only 1 VPC the whole time he was hooked up, which wasn't long but considering before that it was every other beat or so, it looked much better! We did an inital holter in April and it only showed 500 or so abnormal beats but some were in 2's or 3's, not many just a few. His brother's holter was actually worse and he had the same amount of irregular beats but he had 3 runs in there too - which i think is 3 or more beats consecutively being abnormal. Loki's ECG looked better too but I'll see what they say on Monday for the recheck and when we do Kato's recheck holter. He acts like nothing is happening, just normal as can be, playing and jumping around like crazy. I calm him down though, I'm terrified of him passing out again like last week. I don't think I've ever been so scared for one of them. I'm usually OK in emergencies but not when it comes to my own babies. Hello knowledge, there you go flying out the window haha. As sad as it is, It's nice to know there is someone who knows what it's like to live with this fear and anxiety every day, not that I'd ever want anyone else to have to but, you know what I mean. :) It can be hard to explain to someone what it's like so it's good to know I'm not alone. I'm very hopeful that I can get more info next week, especially regarding the autoimmune thryoid blood test and if he needs meds for that or what. I'll definitely keep you updated and thank you so much for the positive vibes, it really means a lot to us.
     
  6. luvmybxrs

    luvmybxrs Boxer Buddy

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    Well both diagnosed and one already had a recheck holter and his arrhythmia got worse according to the holter he also has auto immune thyroid disease and needs meds for that
     
  7. rena

    rena Boxer Booster

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    Sorry for your diagnosis, the fear of them fainting is a terrible feeling. Mick got so bad he had to be on a leash all the time we were outside, even an inside "boxer burn" could result in a fainting episode. He always came back around from the fainting and seemed no worse for it -- it was me that was the wreck after it happened. I'm sure I was overprotective, but....we managed for 2 years (1.5 years longer than the cardiologist gave him). In the end it was cancer not his heart that took him across the Bridge.
     

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