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Cardiomyopathy in Boxer Dogs




The first thing your doctor will try to achieve is normalization of the heartbeat and treatment of the symptoms. Avoiding the sudden death that often occurs with these cases will be the top concern. Treatment is complicated when there are no obvious symptoms, and the medication usually prescribed to treat the condition brings on cardiac arrhythmias instead of reducing them. It will be up to your veterinarian to determine whether antiarrhythmic drugs are indicated.


Living and Management


Fainting and heart attack seem to be more frequent with stress and excitement. For that reason, it might be wise to avoid strenuous exercise with your dog. However, there may be no relationship between an unfavorable outcome and exercise. You will need to follow your veterinarian’s advice and use your own judgment.


Your veterinarian may prescribe some medications for treating the arrhythmia. There appears to be some variability as to how dogs respond, so if one option does not seem to be working, it would be reasonable to switch to another.


Your veterinarian may want to place a cardiac monitor on your dog again after starting therapy to evaluate the response to treatment. This will determine whether the medication is working or whether a switch to another one is in order. Wearing the monitor for a period of time once a year is recommended, as well as having an ECG to check the heart's activity. Dogs with this disease are always at risk of sudden death, but even so, many dogs can be maintained for years on an antiarrhythmic medication. Dogs that have systolic dysfunction – a condition where the heart contracts and blood is forced into areas where it can cause harm – do not do as well. But, even these dogs seem to show improvement on l-carnitine, a supplement that is used to bring carnitine levels up. Carnitine is essential for the fully functioning body, since it stimulates fatty-acid oxidation.



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