Main content area

Atrial fibrillation management in a breeding stallion

Heliczer, N., Mitchell, K., Lorello, O., Dauvillier, J., Burger, D., Schwarzwald, C.C., Navas de Solis, C.
Journal of veterinary cardiology 2017 v.19 no.3 pp. 299-307
adverse effects, atrial fibrillation, breeding, drugs, echocardiography, electrocardiography, heart rate, libido, risk, semen quality, stallions, tachycardia, therapeutics
A 20-year-old warmblood breeding stallion presented to a University practice for semen collection and evaluation was incidentally diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF). Electrocardiogram recordings during breeding revealed inappropriately rapid tachycardia and occasional ventricular premature depolarizations/aberrant ventricular conduction. Transvenous electrical cardioversion was performed. After successful cardioversion the horse displayed supraventricular ectopy and atrial contractile dysfunction and was administered sotalol hydrochloride in an attempt to decrease the risk of AF recurrence. Supraventricular ectopy and echocardiographic evidence of atrial dysfunction gradually improved and normalized over 6 months. No direct adverse effects of the chronic anti-arrhythmic treatment were observed and libido and semen quality were unaffected. AF recurred 6 months after cardioversion and sotalol therapy was continued to control the ventricular ectopy/aberrant ventricular conduction during semen collection. Considerations regarding pathologic arrhythmias and inappropriately high heart rates in breeding stallions with AF may be similar to those in riding horses. Sotalol hydrochloride was a safe anti-arrhythmic drug in the management of this case.