We brought Ike to his first veterinary visit since coming to live with us. He’d been eating well, was full of energy, and the only thing that bothered us was that he seemed to be losing weight. We go to Nassau Veterinary Clinic and they have been taking great care of our pets for many years.

The vet seemed to take a long time listening to Ike’s heart and at first I wondered if she heard something wrong. Then I dismissed it. It’s probably nothing. No worries.

The vet did have a worry, though. “His heart rate is only 40,” she said. She explained that a dog’s heart rate should be between 80-100, even 120. She took his pulse behind his right front leg, on his ribcage. “He drops some beats, as well.”

This is the type of news no pet parent wants to hear. Something serious may be wrong with your pet.

Last Friday we went back for some follow-up tests with Dr. Dietrich, who is the cardiac specialist there. She said that at 40 beats/minute, most dogs would be having some episodes of fainting. Ike has not had anything like that. He loves taking long walks and chasing his tennis ball and doesn’t seem overly exhausted when we’re done. She took  his pulse again, this time on the femoral artery behind the back leg. She got a reading of 70. Still low, but much better than 40. Based on these test results, she decided not to do the echocardiogram he’d been scheduled for (saving us $300!) but opted to do two types of EKGs. The first was performed on her cell phone!

She showed me how her phone had a special covering with sensors on the back.

She simply held the phone against Ike’s chest and it took the reading. Here are the results.

Dr. Dietrich heard an arrhythmia that she wanted to investigate with a more detailed EKG. So they hooked Ike up. The probes clipped onto his skin. They had to put alcohol on the probes, the coldness of which made Ike flinch.

But other than that he stayed still, although somewhat worried.

Here is a short video of the procedure:

The doctor was satisfied with the results. Ike’s heart rate is slow, but not enough that it needs to be treated at this point. We are to keep an eye on things and of course, report if he has any fainting or other episodes of concern. The arrhythmia is called a sinus arrhythmia and again, nothing too concerning at this point.

Everyone at Nassau vet is great and so caring about the pets. They treated Ike gently and explained everything to us as many times as we needed to hear it. Dr. Dietrich is extremely knowledgeable and patient, and has even called me at home to discuss our dogs’ health concerns. We feel confident that our pets are in her care. Thank you Dr. Dietrich!

So we are still a bit concerned about Ike but as long as things continue to go well and Ike feels well, all should be fine. We still have to work on getting him to gain weight, which we’ll attempt to do gradually with good quality food, enough calories, and more small meals spread out across the day.  For now, Ike gets to run and play with no worries!

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