Penny suffers from a condition known as AV block. This is where the impulses that cause the heart to contract and beat normally are interrupted. In severe cases, such as Penny, the impulse or wave is completely blocked. This cause the atria (the top chambers of the heart) and the ventricles (bottom chambers) to beat uncoordinated.
Penny was brought into us because she just wasn’t herself – not chasing after her ball and not eating her food. She was found to have a consistently very low heart rate of 40-50 beats per minute when small dogs should have a rate of about 100-140bpm (especially when in the vets!).
Penny had a series of blood tests, a scan of her heart and an electrocardiogram (ecg). An ecg shows the hearts rhythm, rate and electrical activity. It was from this that we could see the block in Penny’s heart’s impulse. Due the seriousness of the condition Penny was referred to the Cardiac specialists Heart Vets for immediate consultation. Following diagnosis of Penny’s complete AV block she had further bloods tests to check for any hormonal or infectious causes. The team at Heart Vets then surgically placed her permanent pacemaker and she has made an excellent recovery.