Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome in Dogs

Wolff Parkinson White syndrome, often referred to as WPW syndrome, is a rare health condition that can occur in dogs and cats. In a normal heart, there is one passage for electrical signals to travel through. However, if your pet is suffering from WPW syndrome, the animal develops an extra passage, which can cause abnormal heart functioning.

Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome in Dogs

Symptoms of Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome in Dogs

Unfortunately, in most cases, Wolff Parkinson White syndrome can go on for many years without any visible signs of the condition. It is for this reason that regular checkups are so important for your pet. At any rate, there are some symptoms you should look for, and they are as follows:

  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Generalized Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Loss of Consciousness or Fainting

Most Common Causes of WPW Syndrome in Dogs

Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome can be acquired due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or caused by a congenital defect of the heart. While any breed of dog or cat can develop cardiomyopathy, it seems to occur most often in Boston Terriers. The following conditions are congenital defects that can cause WPW syndrome. Again, while any breed of dog or cat can be born with these defects, they are most common in Labrador Retrievers.

  • Atrial Septal Defect:
    A hole between the atrias
  • Tricuspid Valvular Dysplasia:
    Improperly developed valve that separates the right atrial chamber from the left ventricular chamber
  • Defect in the Heart’s Conduction System

Diagnosing WPW Syndrome

If you have noticed your pet exhibiting any of the above symptoms and suspect it may be suffering from WPW syndrome, your vet will perform a thorough physical examination on your dog or cat first. Next, a series of tests will be necessary including a blood count, urinalysis, electrolyte panel, biochemistry profile and an echocardiography.

Typical Treatments of Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome in Dogs

Depending on your pet’s unique condition, treatment for Wolff Parkinson White syndrome can include ocular or carotid sinus pressure, intravenous lidocaine and/or defibrillation. A relatively new treatment method is known as catheter ablation and is used as a replacement for lifelong drug therapy. After stabilization, treatment methods for the underlying cause of WPW syndrome will be discussed.

Wolff Parkinson White syndrome is a serious health condition that can affect your pet’s heart. Although the prognosis for your dog or cat may vary depending on what is causing the condition, if you seek veterinary help right away, you can significantly increase the quality of your pet’s life.

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