Fluff is now back in the arms of her delighted owners after a successful pacemaker implantation!

Diagnosed with Sick Sinus Syndrome (SSS)

After experiencing repeated episodes of fainting, Fluff’s local vet referred the 11-year-old to Anderson Moores for investigations and management.

EBVS® European Specialist in Small Animal Cardiology Paul Mõtsküla diagnosed Fluff with Sick Sinus Syndrome (SSS). Normally the heart rhythm is controlled by an area in the heart called the sinus node, which fires small electrical impulses at regular intervals, making the heart muscle contract. In some dogs, the sinus node fails to function normally (hence the diagnosis SSS) and the heart rhythm becomes very variable, leading to episodic weakness/fainting/reduced exercise capacity. The exact cause of SSS is not known but it is more common in some breeds, such as West Highland White Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Dachshunds and Cocker Spaniels.

Pacemaker implantation

Medical treatment is rarely helpful and the dogs that show clinical sings of heart failure or weakness/fainting due to SSS require a pacemaker. To improve Fluff’s quality of life, she underwent the procedure and the pacemaker was placed on the right side of the neck under the skin, with the lead passed via the jugular vein into her heart. The pacemaker rate was set at 60 beats per minute and will later be set in a mode where the heart rate will increase when Fluff is active and her body needs more energy.

What’s next for Fluff?

Following implantation, Fluff will need strict rest for 2 weeks and then only gentle exercise for 5-10 minutes at a time. In a few months’ time she can continue with her normal active lifestyle. Fluff’s owners will need to monitor her heart rate and the pacemaker will need to be checked in one month, three months and again every year to make sure that it is functioning properly and has sufficient battery life remaining.

She will no longer be able to use slip leads and collars. This includes buster collars or anything secured around the neck. Instead, pacemaker patients are required to use a harness for walks. Jugular blood samples should also never be taken.

We hope Fluff continues to have a smooth recovery and we look forward to seeing her again soon for her planned re-check!

Published: 15-06-2018

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