• arrhythmia;
  • dog;
  • eye;
  • heart rate;
  • Holter monitor;
  • ophthalmic atropine



To determine if topically administered ophthalmic atropine affects heart rate or rhythm in clinically normal dogs.


Two groups of 15 healthy dogs were evaluated, one consisting of dogs weighing <15 kg, the other consisting of dogs weighing >15 kg. Each dog was suited with a Holter monitor. At start time 0, dogs received one drop of ophthalmic 1% atropine solution, or one drop of sterile saline solution as a control in each eye, via random assignment. Each dog served as their own control. This procedure was repeated two more times, at 6-h intervals, for a total of three treatments over a 12-h period. Holter monitors recorded heart rate and rhythm for 24 h. Statistical analysis was performed to compare values between the groups. Dose dependent changes in cardiac parameters were evaluated.


The mean heart rate and average minimum heart rate was significantly higher during the treatment period compared to the control period (8% and 13%, respectively). The mean number of hours with a heart rate <50 bpm decreased by 47% in the treatment vs. the control period. The mean maximum heart rate and number of h with a heart rate > 180 bpm did not differ significantly between the two groups. There was no evidence of dose dependence on heart rate when comparing small and large dogs. No significant differences in heart rhythm were noted between groups for measurable parameters.


Topically administered atropine causes a small but significant increase in heart rate in healthy dogs.