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What is Rapid Heart Rate?

A dog’s heart rate may increase for a variety of reasons, ranging from excitement or agitation to physical exertion. This is normal and will typically correct itself within a short period of time. However, if the abnormally rapid heart rate is sustained over a longer period, it may be indicative of a medical condition that requires veterinarian attention.

Tachycardia is defined as an abnormally rapid heart rate. Superventricular tachycardia typically arises from heart diseases, while ventricular tachycardia may be a result of heart disease, congenital defects, or other conditions. Ventricular tachycardia, in particular, is a serious condition, as it can lead to sudden collapse or death if the arrhythmia is not controlled.

Rapid Heart Rate Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,500

Average Cost

$850

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Symptoms of Rapid Heart Rate in Dogs

Symptoms of tachycardia include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lethargy
  • Weak pulse
  • Fainting or collapse
  • Disinterest and weakness during exercise
  • Fever
Types

Though a rapid heart rate may occur for a variety of reasons, this article focuses primarily on abnormally fast rates that require medical attention. There are two types of tachycardia, which are divided based on where they originate in the heart.

  • Superventricular tachycardia

    - Also referred to as atrial tachycardia, supraventricular tachycardia originates in the atria, which is situated about the ventricles.

  • Ventricular tachycardia

    - Ventricular tachycardia occurs within the ventricles, which are the chambers of the heart responsible for pumping blood. This condition may result in sudden collapse or death and is considered life-threatening if not treated.

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Causes of Rapid Heart Rate in Dogs

Superventricular tachycardia is often caused by heart disease or systemic disease. Ventricular tachycardia can occur for a wider variety of reasons, including:

  • Congenital defect, such as subaortic stenosis
  • Heart disease, such as dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Drug overdose
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Splenic disease
  • Myocarditis
  • Pancreatitis

Depending on the underlying cause, certain breeds tend to be predisposed to the condition. Boxers, in particular, are more at risk of developing ventricular tachycardia.

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Diagnosis of Rapid Heart Rate in Dogs

As with most veterinarian visits, the doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination of your dog, which may include blood tests and a urinalysis both to narrow down potential causes for your dog’s symptoms and to determine your dog’s overall health. As part of this examination, the veterinarian will need a full history, so be prepared to provide information on the onset and duration of your dog’s clinical signs.

Tachycardia itself is diagnosed via electrocardiography (ECG or EKG), which assesses the electrical activity of the heart. Based on the results of the electrocardiograph exam, the veterinarian will be able to determine your dog’s heart rate, though a Holter monitor worn for 24-hours may be needed for a definitive diagnosis. If the veterinarian is still not having success identifying the core issue, further testing, such as an echocardiogram or a complete blood count, may be required to discover the cause of the rapid heart rate.

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Treatment of Rapid Heart Rate in Dogs

The vets primary goal of administering treatment is to control the arrhythmia, especially in dogs that are showing clinical signs of tachycardia. Antiarrhythmic therapy involves administration of medication, such as lidocaine and sotalol, with dosage varying depending on your dog’s condition and reaction. In severe cases, a defibrillator may be needed to bring the heart beat back to normal.

Medical treatment may be decreased over time if your dog responds well, and the arrhythmia is under control. However, the underlying cause for the tachycardia will need to be addressed in order to ensure long-term survival. Though medication can be used to manage ventricular tachycardia, it does not completely remove the possibility of sudden collapse or death.

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Recovery of Rapid Heart Rate in Dogs

Once your dog is back at home, you will need to continue monitoring his or her heart rate. A Holter monitor is particularly useful for this since it can be worn without hindering your dog’s daily activities and provides you with reliable information regarding your dog’s heart. The veterinarian will need this information to determine whether or not your dog’s arrhythmia is under control, as well as the level of danger he or she may still be in.

Depending on the treatment needed for any underlying conditions, you may need to return to the veterinarian periodically for follow-up exams. Your dog may be weaned from the antiarrhythmic drugs if the tachycardia is under control. The prognosis for superventricular and ventricular tachycardia is typically good, as long as the underlying cause is addressed and the tachycardia is resolved or controlled.

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Rapid Heart Rate Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,500

Average Cost

$850

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Rapid Heart Rate Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Labrador Retriever

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Pacing, Anxiousness, Pupils Dialated, Rapid Heart Beat

Our puppy chappi pullo is pacing anxiously,his pupils are dialated and I'd in capable to stop to eat or drink and had to be pick up and swaddles to stop then as soon as he's back down he's back at it ten times faster like I recharged his battery

Dec. 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

Is it possible he has ingested something toxic? I would be concerned for a toxin ingestion here and would want him seen ASAP by a vet. They can run bloods and check him over in order to determine why be is acting like this. Treatment will depend on what they find but they may induce vomiting and support him on an intravenous fluid drip.

Dec. 22, 2020

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Yorkshire Terrier

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Puppy

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Moving His Head And Heart Beating Fast

How to make him clam down

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am sorry for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. Yorkie puppies don't calm down very often, that's why we love them. If you are concerned that he has a problem, it would be best to have your puppy seen by a veterinarian, but what you are describing is probably quite normal.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

Why is her heat beating so hard and fast

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without seeing her, unfortunately, I'm not sure why this might be happening - she may be excited, or she may have a heart condition . If the problem persists, It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your pet and see what might be causing this, and let you know what treatment might help.

Oct. 11, 2020

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Dachshund

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Fourteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

Breathing with short gasps. Heart beat rapid. Lethargic for quite a while. Staggering walk sometimes.

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 15, 2020

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Pomchi

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Rapid Breathing Heart Racing Fainting

What should I do it’s the middle of the night

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 18, 2020

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Alex

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Cocker Spaniel

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Collapse

My 7 years old cocker spaniel collapsed suddenly.his 4 legs are not moving and lost his sense in those. Upon diagnosed vet said he has blood infection and arythmia, envas and neurobion tablets were prescribed. What would be the root cause and how long it takes for him to stand in his feet. Please advise.

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Flea

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Walker hound

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Increased Heart Rate
Panting
General Discomfort
Swollen Extremities

5 year old walker hound was out all day running, chasing, playing as a normal hound does. He came inside this evening and ate his normal ration of dog food, but wouldn’t come out of his crate. His paws are swollen but only significantly on the right side. He’s drinking as usual. I’ve given him 50mg of Benadryl -25mg at a time over 4 hours. He’s panting heavily but seems comfortable otherwise. He’s non-weight bearing on his right front and doesn’t seem to want to move his hind end at all. Normal lung and guts sounds.

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Jasper

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Mix

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3 Weeks

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Lack Of Appetite
Sleepiness
Fast Heart Rate
Frequent Whining

My dog recently had puppies, 13 to be exact. There were two runts, one being smaller than the other, but the bigger one has been whining in her sleep, refusing to eat or walk regularly. All she wants to do is sleep and she’s only 3 1/2 weeks old and her heart is going a mile a minute.

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E.J.

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Labrador Husky

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7 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Panting
Panting,

My dog E.J. has a heart rate of 150bpm at the vet's office and normal temperature. Blood tests were negative and clean urine. He pants heavy and seems to breath heavy while resting. My vet has put him 10 mg of prednisome. It's been a week of the meds and symptoms have not gotten better. It's been a month when the symptoms showed. I'm concerned

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Toffee

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Poodle

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Four Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Rapid Heart Rate
Heavy Panting

My 4 year old(shelter estimate) poodlemix(bichpoo) was previously neglected prior to me adopting him, however I don't know the entire backstory. When he sleeps his breathing and heart rate builds rapidly, he pants hard when he is in car (not sure if this comes from abuse or an health issue), and sometimes would pant severely when he is laying down. I know he is young, and has no previous concerns noted by the shelter but I want to know if these are signs of heart problems and if the abuse can play a factor. I also want to know if this is normal because he is asleep or I should take him to the vet to get examined.

Rapid Heart Rate Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,500

Average Cost

$850

Protect yourself and your pet. Compare top pet insurance plans.

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