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Irregular heart rhythm.

Species: Dog
Age: 11-15 years
MY 12 year old lurcher ran into a car
and broke a leg and a few ribs
he is in the vets on various pain killers and drips awaiting and operation to fix his leg as the ribs will have to heal by themselves so my vet sais , the problem is he has developed a irrgular heart beat and the vet carnt give him a anethesic for the operation until this is stabilised , my question is how long will the drugs they are giving himm for the heartbeat take to work as they carnt operate until then as he is 12 years old , also is the irregular heart beat part of the trauma and can it be controlled so he can have the operation as i fear i could lose him he seems fine apart from that,blood tests they have done

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am so sorry to hear that poor Jasper has had an accident.

It is quite common to postpone surgery for a fracture until we know that the animal is stable and that the anesthetic will be safe.

It's hard to say exactly why Jasper has an irregular heartbeat. One possibility is something called "traumatic myocarditis". This can happen if the heart muscle is stressed severely during trauma. It can sometimes take 3 to 4 days for the heart rhythm to return to normal in these cases.

Another possibility is that the pain from the accident has caused the heart rate to increase. Sometimes when an animal's heart rate increases dramatically it can cause arrythmias (irregular rhythms). This type of problem is usually resolved with pain medication.

If there was any head trauma then this can affect the heart rhythm as well. But it doesn't sound like this is the case with your boy.

From what you have described it is unlikely that the heart problem will be life threatening.

I know it is hard to wait to do surgery and to leave him with fractures. However, rest assured that Jasper will be on good pain medication and will be kept as comfortable as possible until he has his surgery.

I really hope he does ok!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

hi the heart problem has cleared up but he has developed a kidney problem , is there any way to clear this problem up so he can be strong enough to have the operation strong medication ,as i assume the problem was caused by the trauma of the accident

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear about the kidney problem. This is a tough question for me to answer as there are many variables. Did your vet mention what the problem was with the kidneys? Is it just that the kidney enzymes are elevated? Or does he think there is trauma to the kidneys?

It's possible that his blood pressure dropped because of the trauma and this caused damage to the kidneys.

I wish I could give you more information but there are too many possibilities.

How is he doing tonight?

Customer reply:

hi unfortuanatly jasper had to be put to sleep as as he was 12.5 years old he may not have survived surgery as he wasnt eating and the vet said he only had 1 kidney working
but was this kidney problem brought on by the accident or could it have been there for sometime and also how long could he have lived to if he hadnt had the accident , he was never a good eater at home but what would the symptoms of kidney problems in dogs be

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am so sorry to hear that Jasper had to be put to sleep.

It's hard to say what caused the kidney problem. It's not common for a kidney to be damaged by trauma. My guess is that he may have had age related kidney problems even before his accident. Often we won't see any symptoms early in kidney disease, but symptoms that we sometimes see are an increase in thirst and urination.

It's possible that the stress of the accident, or possibly low blood pressure caused by the accident put extra stress on the kidneys which pushed them into failure.

While no one can say how long he would have lived without the accident, at 12 years old he was already a very senior dog.

I am so sorry that Jasper's life had to end with such a hard situation. If you would like me to, I would love to publish a memorial of Jasper on my blog. I have been thinking of doing this for my askavetquestion customers. You can email me a picture of him and a few words about his life at

Again, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.