Exercise with Heart Issues

Clavin

Boxer Booster
So little bit of a dilemma....so my 12 year old (still super hyper) Boxer was diagnosed with heart issues yesterday and put on
Sotalol.. 1/2 80mg.tablet twice a day.

My quandary is his energy level is still that of a puppy even at 12 years old. He comes into my office every 5 minutes wanting to do something.
Before the diagnosis I was taking him on 2-3 short walks per day as well as playing our "spanking" game where I chase him around the kitchen table
with one of his 50 toys in his mouth. He also plays with his German Shepard girlfriend who lives two doors down almost on a daily basis.

Now I'm afraid of giving him ANY exercise as I don't want to "set something off" heart wise. We went on a very short walk today just to the corner and I was so anxious the entire period..didn't even put a dent in his energy level.

Any suggestions on how to balance giving him some exercise but not putting stress on his heart? Since the breed is so prone to (major) heart issues I'm sure others have experienced this before and was wondering how you handled it. Thanks for any input/suggestions...
 

Jan

Reasonable Moderator
Staff member
What does your vet say about exercise? I would follow their advice.
Fortunately, I have never had a boxer with any heart issues. Hopefully someone else will chime in whom has had some experience with heart problems.
Good luck!
 

Gatorblu

Boxer Insane
Since your pup is on sotaloI, I am going presume he is suffering from ARVC which is an arrhythmia. I have been through this with two of my boxers.

I know it is scary, but you got to let them play. Pent up energy becomes stressful and that isn't good for their heart. Have you done a 24 hour Holter monitor? If so that can give you clues as to when your pup is most at risk. For my girl she was most ar risk in the early morning hours. (3-6 am.) I definitely wouldn't stop your walks.

Do you have a Holter scheduled to see how he is responding to the medication? My boy that was on sotaloI did so well, his next Holter looked like that of a perfectly healthy dog.
 

Clavin

Boxer Booster
Since your pup is on sotaloI, I am going presume he is suffering from ARVC which is an arrhythmia. I have been through this with two of my boxers.

I know it is scary, but you got to let them play. Pent up energy becomes stressful and that isn't good for their heart. Have you done a 24 hour Holter monitor? If so that can give you clues as to when your pup is most at risk. For my girl she was most ar risk in the early morning hours. (3-6 am.) I definitely wouldn't stop your walks.

Do you have a Holter scheduled to see how he is responding to the medication? My boy that was on sotaloI did so well, his next Holter looked like that of a perfectly healthy dog.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. Yes Clavin the Boxer does have an arrhythmia. We are planning to do another EKG in about 3 weeks and yes the vet did suggest doing a 24 Holter monitor test.

I'm just so scared letting him play as hard as he was before the diagnosis but I understand how pent up energy could indeed cause stress in and of itself.

Again thanks for those that have taken the time to respond.
 

Ruby's Mom

Boxer Pal
So little bit of a dilemma....so my 12 year old (still super hyper) Boxer was diagnosed with heart issues yesterday and put on
Sotalol.. 1/2 80mg.tablet twice a day.

My quandary is his energy level is still that of a puppy even at 12 years old. He comes into my office every 5 minutes wanting to do something.
Before the diagnosis I was taking him on 2-3 short walks per day as well as playing our "spanking" game where I chase him around the kitchen table
with one of his 50 toys in his mouth. He also plays with his German Shepard girlfriend who lives two doors down almost on a daily basis.

Now I'm afraid of giving him ANY exercise as I don't want to "set something off" heart wise. We went on a very short walk today just to the corner and I was so anxious the entire period..didn't even put a dent in his energy level.

Any suggestions on how to balance giving him some exercise but not putting stress on his heart? Since the breed is so prone to (major) heart issues I'm sure others have experienced this before and was wondering how you handled it. Thanks for any input/suggestions...
Hi Calvin, I'm Ann, I haven't been on here for a very long time and it's good to be back. I am a boxer mom of 30+ years (will be adopting our 5th in a couple weeks). Always listen to your vet. We had two boxers with heart issues. Though they were different dogs both let us know when it was time to make them slow down. They were either not keeping up with our pace or not as energetic. We shortened their walks, slowed down and avoided hills. I think if you were to stop walking him you will end up with a very depressed boy. Ask your vet how far is too far. He/she may think what your doing is fine but might want to monitor your pup to see how he's doing more frequently. Best wishes to you and your guy.
 

Clavin

Boxer Booster
Hi Calvin, I'm Ann, I haven't been on here for a very long time and it's good to be back. I am a boxer mom of 30+ years (will be adopting our 5th in a couple weeks). Always listen to your vet. We had two boxers with heart issues. Though they were different dogs both let us know when it was time to make them slow down. They were either not keeping up with our pace or not as energetic. We shortened their walks, slowed down and avoided hills. I think if you were to stop walking him you will end up with a very depressed boy. Ask your vet how far is too far. He/she may think what your doing is fine but might want to monitor your pup to see how he's doing more frequently. Best wishes to you and your guy.
Thanks Ann...very sound advice and much appreciated.
 

Cami

Boxer Insane
I lost 2 previous girls to ARVC. I never stopped their exercise just policed them a bit more. They could run and play but I would stop it before it got out of control (breathing too hard, heavy panting). Walked every day but never when too hot. Cami's heart disease caused her to collapse a couple of times and the last 6 weeks of life where her worst. Raine never had any symptoms and diagnosed because of losing Cami prior. I had her at the cardios office at 9 weeks of age. She passed suddenly on a walk just shy of her 9th birthday by 1 month, 1 week and 1 day. Had been out for maybe 3 minutes and we were close to home. Walking and then just gone. Before she hit the ground I caught her and by the time I lifted her up in my arms she was gone. I ran home with her and administered CPR but I couldn't save her. ARVC is an electrical issue and no amount of pumping was going to correct that. Sorry to ramble just miss my girls like crazy! Let your pup be happy an LIVE. Confirm with the vet that the level of disease your guy is dealing with is stable, meaning under control with meds, (which would require a holter or 2 and a cardiologist workup including that holter and an ultrasound of the heart. An EKG/ECG is merely just a snippet in time (seconds to minutes) and you need far longer testing. Sorry you are dealing with this. That med is a great, well tolerated drug but it dosen't make them bullet proof.
 
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