Brandy's Medical Thread - Heart Arrhythmia

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mickey1007
Support in '11 & '12

Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:58 pm


This is my first post and I'm sorry if it's long but I would like to give some background info on both girls to help get a better picture.

I have two girls (Shandy and Brandy) who are Teddies and 8.5 months old. Both had a URI when they were 5 weeks old. We only had them for 3 days when I noticed some crust on Shandy's eye. I took them both in and got them treated.

When they were 5 months old I started noticing gritty urine so I started adjusting their diet based on info here and on the gpcages website. Unfortunately the diet change didn't go well and Shandy is currently being treated for sludge (I will be starting a different thread about that).

The reason I brought this up in this thread is because I wasn't sure who had the sludgy urine so both were brought in and the vet thought they both had a UTI so prescribed a 10 day treatment of Baytril. Two days after that was done, I was feeding the girls their dinner and walked away for a second - when I came back Brandy was hooting.

Unfortunately, the vet office had just closed so I quickly got online and searched this site for hooting and saw that it was a good indicator of a heart issue. It stopped pretty quickly and didn't happen again that night plus she was eating at the time so I thought that maybe it was just something stuck in her throat (okay, I was hoping). During breakfast the next morning, she hooted again and had a rattle in her breath so I made an appt for the earliest one available.

When we got to the vet, the receptionist was skeptical about having the vet look at Brandy's heart for a suspected URI but I was adamant. The vet is use to me - I'm the mommy who brings the girls in for a sneeze and I think she was just humoring me, at least at first. The vet listened to Brandy's heart for a long time. She said she heard something that wasn't right and wanted to do an x-ray. The vet had heard a normal heartbeat for a while then a bunch of irregular beats.

The x-ray didn't show any issues - no enlarged heart or fluid on the lungs - so she called a colleague who had more experience with heart issues for an opinion. The colleague offered to come to the office later in the afternoon to examine Brandy and do an ultrasound.

They didn't find any abnormalities with the heart during the ultrasound - in fact she said the heart looked really healthy. However, they continued to hear the irregular beats so they hooked Brandy up for an ECG. Based on the info in the ECG, the vet diagnosed Brandy with ventricular arrhythmia and has prescribed .5ml of Sotalol 2 times daily.

I've searched this site and others and cannot find any information about this drug. Has anyone had any experience with it or a ventricular arrhythmia?

I would like to say thank you to Lynx and everyone on this forum, I've been using the information on this site for many months and am very grateful for the information that I have gotten. I'm pretty sure that without this site my girls would not have made it as long as they have! If anyone has any insight on ventricular arrhythmia or Sotalol I would appreciate hearing it. Thank you.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:50 pm


Hooting can also be something lodged in the throat that resolves and goes away fairly quickly. It does not have to be a heart issue.

I am not familiar with that drug. Normally I would google it - perhaps you can do so to find the generic name and its use in other species.

Glad you were able to diagnose the arrhythmia. Hope the drug helps.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:16 pm


I had some time to look for some info on Sotalol. That seems to be the generic name. I found it used on cats and dogs on some sites.

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/190213.htm

"Class III drugs prolong the cardiac action potential and refractory period. They have no effect on the fast sodium conductance. There are 3 drugs in this class—bretylium, amiodarone, and sotalol. At present, none have practical clinical application in veterinary medicine. In addition to the Class III effect on action potential, sotalol is a nonselective β-adrenergic blocker."

Pet Education mentions some side effects to watch out for.
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=0+1303+1464&aid=3220

"Sotalol is in a class of drugs called beta blockers. It is used to treat ventricular tachycardia, a certain type of abnormal heart rhythm. Contact your veterinarian if your pet experiences a slow heart rate, tiredness, difficulty breathing, coughing, or vomiting while being treated with sotalol."

And some general human info on the drug:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000923/

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mickey1007
Support in '11 & '12

Post   » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:44 pm


Thank you for the sites, Lynx - I googled it myself but didn't find these. I am kinda concerned about the side effects listed on the one site as Brandy has started coughing now. She hoots for a while when eating then coughs. The cough kind of sounds like a cat coughing up a furball - the first time I heard it it freaked me out!

I was hoping that someone may have had some experience with this drug that I could discuss with the vet when we go back tomorrow. Does anyone know if there are there some other more common drug(s) used for ventricular arrhythmias or arrhythmias in general?

The vet seems very knowledgeable but she pretty much told me that they have never seen a guinea pig with this condition because most people wouldn't know the symptoms and get them checked in time. In fact she told us that if we hadn't brought Brandy in, we may have just come home one day to find her dead in her cage.

I definitely want to do whatever I can to keep Brandy with us for as long as we can. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:53 pm


All I know is what I have gathered to put together the heart page. I wish I had more advice to offer!

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mickey1007
Support in '11 & '12

Post   » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:15 pm


Thanks again Lynx - your heart page is actually the first page that I looked at when searching hooting and is the reason we were able to catch this so soon!

I appreciate all the help, I will update this thread after the vet visit tomorrow!

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:08 am


Hmmmm.... I actually had a dog on sotolol. I suspected it was causing inappetance, so be very careful with that. After I switched drugs, his appetite improved. I can't remember the other drug off the top of my head.

Ventricular arrythmias are pretty serious--just had an EKG class today, so that is fresh in my mind! Whatever you do, it should really be medicated.

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mickey1007
Support in '11 & '12

Post   » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:47 am


Thanks for the heads up Josephine! I have been trying to watch each time we feed them and Brandy's appetite has been very good so far. She eats her veges well and has been eating a ton of hay lately - more so now then before.

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mickey1007
Support in '11 & '12

Post   » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:51 pm


I forgot to update this thread after the vet visit!! When we returned to the vet about 3 weeks ago, the vet doubled the dosage per time for the Solatol (from .5ml every 12 hours to 1ml every 12 hours). That seems to have worked. The hooting has pretty much gone away (only heard it once or twice in the past 3 weeks), Brandy's energy level has increased - she is actually doing zoomies now, and her appetite is really good.

We had another checkup with the Vet last week and she was very happy with how Brandy's heart sounded and how much her energy has improved. She even said we didn't have to go in for about 8 weeks (which is a record for us!!).

But the oddest thing happened tonight though. I was talking to Brandy while she was in their cage and all of the sudden she started doing a rocking motion like she wanted to throw up (I know that guinea pigs can't) then when she was done rocking she coughed. The rocking scared me and so I'm wondering if anyone else had ever seen that before. Is that something that heart piggies do?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:34 pm


I don't know about heart pigs, but other pigs do. Both of mine do the rocking bit occasionally, like they're trying to throw up but can't. I just figure the pigs are being piggy, and are eating too fast. It never lasts long.

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