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First pacemaker implant on dog helps clear ‘complete heart block’ in cocker spaniel

Khushi, who is seven-and-a-half years old, saw her heart rate drop to 20 beats a minute — against a normal of 60-120 — because of the block.

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New Delhi:
In a novel development in the country’s veterinary annals, a seven-and-a-half-year-old cocker spaniel has undergone a pacemaker implant surgery which vet surgeons claim to be the first in India.

An imported pediatric pacemaker was implanted in the female dog, Khushi, who had developed a complete heart block that led to her heart rate dropping to 20 beats per minute as against the normal 60-120.

“Her heart was not able to conduct impulses necessary for normal cardiac functioning. The amount of blood which flows out of the heart had reduced significantly and the dog was having frequent episodes of syncope.

“Khushi’s heart rate was dangerously low at 20 beats per minute compared to normal 60-120 beats per minute,” Dr Bhanu Dev Sharma, interventional cardiologist for small animals at Max Vets Hospital, Greater Kailash, said.

Sharma said according to her owners Khushi was a lazy dog.

“During an emergency ear operation in February last year she had collapsed but the surgeons managed to revive her. It was then when we realised that she has a much more serious issue,” said Sharma, who holds a Master’s degree in small animal cardiology from the University of Luxembourg.

Once Khushi recovered from her ear surgery, doctors evaluated her and a holter ECG showed a complete heart block.

A team at Max Vets super speciality hospital led by Dr Bhanu and Dr Kunal Dev Sharma discussed the case with their European colleagues and planned the pacemaker surgery which was never done before for a dog in India.

The dog was operated on December 15 and the pacemaker was implanted after an one-and-a-half hour long surgery.

“Post the pacemaker implantation Khushi who used to be extremely lethargic and lifeless before the surgery is back to her normal active self, feels as if she is back to puppyhood,” said its owner manu, a resident of Gurgaon.

Also read: Urban India’s love for pets is growing. Without any rules


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