A tale of a broken heart…fixed!

This is pretty little Penny, a four-year-old Sproodle whose heart needs a bit of help to get the right beat. Read on to find out more.

Penny’s lack of enthusiasm for her food or ball games was a sign that something wasn’t right.

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.

A complete AV block is a very serious condition but luckily for Penny it was caught and treated early. Without a pacemaker Penny’s life would have been very short. Her pacemaker cleverly works on demand – making up for disruption in impulse only as and when its needed. This gives Penny essentially a normally beating heart and gives her the quality of life that a four-year-old dog  deserves.

We are so proud of Penny and her family and I think you will agree she looks a very happy girl!