The beat goes on

By Susan Aielo • Published: March 4th, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Pacesetters quicken society’s pulse, but pacemakers are small electronic gadgets that keep the heart beating at the right speed and rhythm.

Pacemakers are commonly used in human medicine, but the cost associated with implanting these electronic marvels has limited their use in veterinary medicine.

However, advances in technology are reversing this trend and expanding animal applications for these lifesaving devices. Progress in computerization and the donation of used devices have decreased the cost, and advances in medical technology allow pacemakers to be installed without expensive and invasive thoracic surgery.

Modern techniques allow wire leads to be placed in the heart through a vein, with the pacemaker itself installed under the skin. With a pacemaker, the right canine candidate can gain three to five years of active life.