Atrial Fibrilliation

This service is available at:
Bulger Veterinary Hospital
Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital
Port City Veterinary Referral Hospital

The heart is a muscle that depends on electrical signals from a biological “pacemaker” (located in the atria of the heart) to generate the regular and evenly spaced contractions of the chambers of the heart necessary to pump blood with its vital oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.  Heart disease and natural limitations may cause these signals to become interrupted or chaotic in a number of ways producing arrhythmias.

One very important variation in these signals is known as atrial fibrillation.  In this disorder, the signals in the atria become chaotic and only at irregular periods succeed in stimulating the heart muscles to full contraction.  This chaotic behavior severely limits the  ability of the heart to pump sufficient blood to meet the body’s needs.

Atrial Fibrillation is a common arrrhythmia in small animals (14%  of all canine arrhythmias).  Left untreated it can cause important changes in the functionality of the heart.  Atrial fibrillation may be caused by underlying heart disease, it may occur due to non-cardiac disease or anesthesia or it may be idiopathic in some large breed dogs.

Treatment requires management of the underlying problem and slowing the heart sufficiently to allow time for the chambers to fill, thus permitting the heart to pump more effectively.  If diagnosed with this disease, your pet may be given medications to reduce the risk of a blood clot caused by the slower movement of blood through the heart chambers.

24 Hour Emergency & Specialty

Boston West Veterinary Emergency and Specialty

Natick, MA 01760
508.319.2117

Directions

Capital District Veterinary Referral Hospital

Latham, NY 12110
518.785.1094

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Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital

Woburn, MA 01801
781.932.5802

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Port City Veterinary Referral Hospital

Portsmouth, NH 03801
603.433.0056

Directions

SAVES

Lebanon, NH 03766
603.306.0007

Directions

General Practice, Emergency & Specialty

Bulger Veterinary Hospital

North Andover, MA 01845
ER: 978.725.5544 GP: 978.682.9905

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