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Thread: Inherited Ventricular Tachycardia in German Shepherds- Meds Do Help! Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-04-2017 01:27 PM
Louie is doing great!!

Hi Everyone,

Louie has had 3 Holter Monitors in the past fewmonths. We have been working with a wonderful Veterinary Cardiac Specialist inaddition to our veterinarian to treat his condition.

I'll start from the beginning on how we foundout... He was a couple months old when my veterinarian noticed he had a small(couple centimeter) under bite. He recommended we remove his puppy K9's to givehis bottom jaw a chance to grow. Very routine surgery. See, his puppy K9's werehitting the soft tissue on the top of his mouth causing discomfort. During hissurgery is when they discovered his heart Arrhythmia's. The condition, called InheritedVentricular Arrhythmia and Sudden Death in German Shepherds is becausehe ONLY has the arrhythmia's when he's in a DEEP sleep. Hence, the anesthesiafrom the surgery caused the arrhythmia's. I was so scared to wake up in themorning and find out he was no longer with us. Or, come home from work and findhim. What happens is when he sleeps (very deep sleep) is when the arrhythmia'sbegin, they become so fast and severe, they put him into cardiac arrest. (GoodLORD, NO!) That's where the "Sudden Death" part of the name comes in.

We then did a Holter monitor for 24 hours toensure we caught the arrhythmia's when he is sleeping. Once confirmed, weimmediately started him on Mexiletine and Sotalol (spelling?) to help keep thearrhythmia's under control. We rechecked his Holter at about 7 months. Hisarrhythmia's had gotten worse!! We stopped the Sotalol and are now giving himAmiodarone in addition to the Mexiletine. We have since done a third Holterabout a month ago and his arrhythmia's have improved dramatically! TheAmiodarone is working! With this new medication though, we need to monitor hisblood work very closely. So far so good!

I've learned a lot in the last few monthsworking with my veterinarian (he's amazing) and the vet cardiac specialist (weLOVE her)! On the plus side, Inherited Ventricular Arrhythmia and Sudden Deathin GSD's is said to dissipate on it's own around 2 years of age. Louie justturned 11 months old on Saturday. We will continue to treat him with meds andrecheck with a Holter every few months now that we had an improvement on thelast one.

I'm blessed that we have his condition undercontrol in the meantime. He does look silly with Holter on! I usually put aT-shirt around his Holter vest so the wires are not exposed. It takes a while for his fur to grow back in too as they have to shave his sides for the Holter. I've attached somepics of my silly guy with his vest on. Love him so much!
02-20-2017 11:42 PM
Tlnug We have a white German shepherd who was diagnosed with this condition at six months. We took her to a veterinary cardiologist for a consult. While there I asked about a pacemaker. The analogy used on why a pacemaker would not help in this instance was that of revving the engine of a car - it might regulate the heart but would overtax it to a degree it could cause other issues. I'm am not a medical expert - just sharing what was relayed to me. I can say that our girl has been on the combination of meds listed within this thread with good results so far, reducing the number of runs/incidents considerably. She is on the severe side of the spectrum of this condition. She'll be two years old in May. We'll repeat the holter monitoring at that time to determine whether she has "outgrown" the condition. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone else going through this experience. We consider each day with our girl a blessing.
11-14-2016 01:25 PM
Steve Willey My 9 month Shepard has this. My vet heard it when I had her in for something else. I took her to the cardiologist he had her wear a holter monitor for 48 hrs. She's on meds now.
11-14-2016 06:56 AM
gsdsar This is not common. An arrhythmia would be heard, an ECG done then a holter to confirm.

I don't believe we "pace" for this. But I can check.

Pacemakers run about 5-6 dollars.

I just personally learned of this while asking about another board members dog. It's not something that I have ever seen.

Joey and Chandler, lots of dogs have irregular heart rythyms. The heart speeds up and slows down, usually in conjunction with their respiratory rate. It's called a sinus arrhythmia. And it is normal in dogs. This syndrome is totally different and would sound totally different.
11-14-2016 03:03 AM
Joey-and-chandler How do you find this out, is it this common? My dogs have irregular heartbeats too but everytime at the vets they check and say its normal? Is it a different thing.
11-13-2016 11:20 PM
Steve Willey
Sudden death syndrome

My 9 month old Shepard has this too. I found out about a month ago.
11-13-2016 11:15 PM
Steve Willey I just found out my 9 month old Shepard has this too. How is your Shepard doing I know this is a old thread.
10-11-2016 10:51 AM
Please Help


Is there anyone I can talk to about Inherited Ventricular Arrhythmia's in GSD's? My Louie is 5 months old and was diagnosed with this condition. We have immediately started him on two different heart medications. I'm so scared for him.

Please, can anyone who has been though this before provide some experience? Do the meds help?

Thanks so much in advance.
05-20-2014 07:31 AM
Originally Posted by Sashapath View Post
Actually, I did read somewhere on the internet (because clearly everything you read on the internet is true ) that pace makers can be put into dogs for this sort of problem. However, I could not imagine how much that would cost--although, I'm sure that if I had the money to do it, I would--after all no material thing can make you happier than your pup!
I dont feel like pacemakers are THAT terribly expensive. I would imagine 1000-2000$ dollars.
05-19-2014 06:29 PM
Sashapath Actually, I did read somewhere on the internet (because clearly everything you read on the internet is true ) that pace makers can be put into dogs for this sort of problem. However, I could not imagine how much that would cost--although, I'm sure that if I had the money to do it, I would--after all no material thing can make you happier than your pup!
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