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Not missing a beat – Millie gets a pacemaker

Friday, October 03, 2014

People are often shocked by how advanced veterinary medicine can be. Although, as a general rule, medical and surgical developments for animals are always years behind human medicine, the amount of ground-breaking procedures still available can be very surprising to owners!

‘Millie had become lethargic and quieter at home’

For instance, we’d like you to meet Millie. Millie is an 11 year old Cocker Spaniel who recently had a pacemaker fitted! Her owner, Mrs Thomas from Oldland Common, had noticed that she had become lethargic and quieter at home. She was less able to exercise and had lost some weight, but otherwise seemed well in herself. At a routine check at our Longwell Green surgery, vet Suzy found that Millie had a very slow heart rate and a noticeable murmur, so suggested visiting the cardiology team at our referral centre in Whitchurch.

Millie had a consultation with Cardiology Specialist, Kieran Borgeat, who investigated things further. Unfortunately, Mrs Thomas’ worst fears were confirmed - Millie had a condition called atrioventricular (AV) block, where the electrical wiring of the heart does not conduct normally. Although she appeared stable, an electrical problem like this can sadly cause sudden death in a proportion of affected dogs.

‘it was decided to place a pacemaker to control her heart rate’

Blood tests and a CT scan did not show any evidence of a significant disease that could cause AV block, so it was decided to place a pacemaker to control her heart rate. Because of Millie’s generally active lifestyle, they decided to place the pacemaker inside her chest, rather than in a pocket on her neck, that is more commonly performed.

Millie’s procedure meant that the cardiology team and the surgical team had to work very closely together. The surgery was performed by specialist surgeon, Dan Ogden, while her heart was monitored constantly by the cardiology team.

‘at her post-operative check she was bouncing around the consult room’

“Since the operation, Millie has been so much brighter and happier at home, with improved exercise ability” reported Kieran. “Before her surgery, she seemed quite depressed and acted older than her age, whereas at her post-operative check she was bouncing around the consult room and thoroughly enjoying her treats. It was such a difference! Her owners are very pleased with her progress, as are we!”

We are very lucky to have our own referral centre within the Highcroft Group and are extremely proud to be able to provide complex life-saving treatments for your pets. If you’d like to find out more about the specialist services we have on offer, visit our dedicated website www.highcroftvetreferrals.com for more information.


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