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Category archive: Featured

Dash: Ventricular Arrhythmias and Sudden Death

The Dion’s ten year old Boston Terrier Dash became acutely lethargic one night in early May, and his behavior was alarming enough to prompt him being brought to VESCNM’s ER. Once there, baseline testing included labwork and x-rays were unremarkable, but he was admitted for observation and support. He was given some basic intestinal support in the hospital after he developed diarrhea, but then at four in the morning his nurses found he was becoming very quiet and lethargic again. Listening to his heart, Dr. Doran found his heart rate was very elevated and irregular. The team got an EKG to assess Dash’s heart which revealed ventricular tachycardia, a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia. Just as treatment was initiated, the worst happened: Dash died.

Lucky for Dash he was surrounded by an emergency veterinary team that was prepared, and they jumped right in to action. CPR was initiated, and when the EKG showed ventricular fibrillation Dash was given defibrillation shocks. After a couple minutes of CPR, Dash was alive again.

Unlike in the movies or on TV shows, it was not all smooth sailing from there. Dash was still having arrhythmias, and was started on continuous monitoring of both blood pressure and his heart rate while medications were started to stop his arrhythmia. Dash responded well, and two days later was discharged with his new heart medication to try to prevent this from ever happening again.

While Dash’s case is rare and atypical, ventricular arrhythmias are not uncommon in certain dog and cat patients. Various heart and systemic illnesses can cause the heart to beat erratically, and ventricular arrhythmias are ones that put the heart at risk for stopping suddenly. They are the reason that airports, schools, and other public places often have defibrillators available to try to save a person if they were to unexpectedly die.

These arrhythmias are the ones that scare veterinarians the most, especially since dogs and cats with them can be acting completely normal one second, and then fall over dead the next. While we can never completely eliminate this risk, depending on the cause we can treat the arrhythmia and lower the risk of it happening, and we can give these patients a good quality of life in the meantime.

Signs of arrhythmias can be intermittent collapse/fainting, severe lethargy or trouble breathing, and exercise intolerance. Breeds at a higher risk compared to others include Boxers, Dobermans, and Bulldogs. Diseases that can predispose your patient to this type of arrhythmia include severe heart disease, cancers, and internal bleeding in dogs, and heart disease or urinary obstructions in cats.

The most important thing to know is that those of us at VESCNM are here 24/7 if you have a question or see concerning signs in your dog or cat. Conditions like these can go south very quickly, and it’s better to be safe and bring your patient in to the ER when you see concerning changes in their behavior or any of the above clinical signs.

We are happy to report that Dash is still doing great at home on his new medication, and we hope that continues to be the case for a long time to come.   


Saturday Sessions

Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Centers of New Mexico will be transitioning from our yearly Weekend with the Specialists conference to Saturday Sessions. This will be an in-house bimonthly continuing education presentation, right here in our ABQ conference room for local veterinarians and technical staff.

Our first Saturday session is scheduled for:

January 14, 2017

Saturday Session 1-14-17 Agenda

Seating is limited to the first 30 attendees. Please email dgoldtooth@vescnm.com to reserve your seat.


An update from VESCNM!

VESCNM has some very exciting news! One of our emergency doctors, Dr. Kendra Freeman is now our Surgical Fellow.

Dr. Freeman is a New Mexico native and joined VESCNM in 2015 as an associate veterinarian in our emergency department. Under the guidance of Peter Schwarz, DVM, DACVS and the specialists at VESCNM.

Dr. Freeman will fulfill requirements to achieve dual certification with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and achieve board certification in small animal surgery.

Dr. Freeman is excited for this opportunity and looks forward to refining her skills as a small animal surgeon to best serve Albuquerque and neighboring communities.

 

Sincerely,

VESCNM


Welcome!

Welcome to our new, updated website! We hope you will find the new look easy to navigate, as well as informative. We’ve created this website for both of our hospital’s beautiful locations- in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM.

For our clients, you can now fill out your intake form ahead of time to make your check in process faster; for veterinarians, you can now submit your referral forms online; and for those who are interested in starting their career with us, applications can be submitted online as well.

Please visit the news/events and social media tabs for ongoing updates at our clinic. You can also “like” us on Facebook, if you wish!

Please enjoy the new site and, as always, feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you may have.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

VESCNM