Ventricular Tachycardia

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Ventricular tachycardia is an arrhythmia that is caused by abnormal electrical impulses that are generated somewhere within the ventricles of the heart. These rapid, repetitive extrasystoles or contractions can be intermittent or continuous in nature, and may be caused by cardiac disease, abnormal serum levels of calcium or potassium, as well as splenic or gastrointestinal diseases.

Ventricular tachycardia can be life-threatening, and while some dogs be asymptomatic, this arrhythmia can lead to hypotension, destruction of cardiac muscle tissue, collapse, and even sudden death.

Treatment of this arrhythmia should be initiated if the pet’s heart rate is greater than 200 beats/minute, and the arrhythmia has been diagnosed by an electrocardiograph. Treatment is also necessary if the pet is showing any clinical signs, such as weakness, syncope (collapse), seizures, or shock. Anti-arrhythmic drugs such as lidocaine, procainamide, and sotalol may need to be used initially to convert the arrhythmia in an acute episode, and may need to be continued indefinitely. If the arrhythmia is well controlled, treatment may be slowly decreased after a period of 2 to 3 weeks.

24 Hour Emergency & Specialty

Boston West Veterinary Emergency and Specialty

Natick, MA 01760


Capital District Veterinary Referral Hospital

Latham, NY 12110


Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital

Woburn, MA 01801


Port City Veterinary Referral Hospital

Portsmouth, NH 03801


General Practice, Emergency & Specialty

Bulger Veterinary Hospital

Lawrence, MA 01843
ER: 978.725.5544 GP: 978.682.9905