OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy of amiodarone in dogs with refractory supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias and to document the side effects in treated dogs.
METHODS: Records of 28 dogs were retrospectively searched to document indication for amiodarone administration, heart rate, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, thyroxine (T4) and thyroid stimulating hormone values before and after starting treatment and during follow-up periods.
RESULTS: Sixteen dogs with supraventricular and 12 dogs with ventricular arrhythmias were treated with amiodarone. Amiodarone treatment significantly reduced the heart rate (P<0.001) and resulted in improvement in the severity of the arrhythmia and clinical signs in 26 dogs. There were no significant differences in alkaline phosphatase (P=0.596), alanine aminotransferase (P=0.842), T4 (P=0.789) and thyroid stimulating hormone (P=0.064) before and after starting amiodarone. On maintenance therapy, median amiodarone blood levels were within the accepted reference range (0.5 to 2.0 mg/L) at 0.8 mg/L (range 0.2 to 11.6 mg/L), but the majority of the desethylamiodarone levels were below normal at 0.1 mg/L (range 0.1 to 0.9 mg/L), based on human reference intervals (0.5 to 2.0 mg/L).
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Amiodarone may be an effective and safe alternative to treat supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias in dogs, when common anti-arrhythmic drugs are not effective or contraindicated.