Pacing success in tiny patients

By Connie Orcutt • Published: July 1st, 2017
Category: Animal Airwaves

As this story shows, veterinary successes come in all shapes and sizes.

Abnormal heart rhythms — or arrhythmias — are relatively common in pet ferrets. Recently, a ferret in the Midwest was examined because of decreased appetite and activity. The veterinarian detected a very low heart rate and referred the ferret to a veterinary cardiologist. His diagnosis was third-degree heart block — that is, a life-threatening arrhythmia that’s treated with a pacemaker to regulate the heartbeat.

A ferret’s size and delicate tissues complicate the process of implanting a pacemaker. But the veterinary team persevered by using a human pacemaker fitted with special electrical leads. Subsequently, this fortunate little ferret has improved a bit more every day.

It just goes to show, where there’s a veterinary will, there’s a way.