Complete heart block associated with lupus in a dog

R. Malik, P. Zunino, Geraldine B Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A 5-year-old Poodle-cross was initially presented for exercise intolerance and difficulty in chewing and yawning. Some months later it acutely developed lethargy referable to complete heart block. Further investigations before and after permanent pacemaker implantation demonstrated Coombs-positive immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia, presumptive masticatory myositis and hypoadrenocorticism, suggesting the possibility of multisystem auto-immune disease. A diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) was made based on these findings and a positive anti-nuclear antibody titre. It was thought that immune-mediated destruction of cardiac conduction tissues was responsible for the development of atrioventricular conduction block. Glucocorticoid deficiency was corrected using cortisone replacement therapy. SLE was controlled successfully for 10 months using azathioprine monotherapy until signs, subsequently shown to be due to subacute bacterial endocarditis, resulted in the death of the patient. Lupus should be considered as a potential underlying aetiology in dogs that develop heart block.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-401
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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