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Scottish Veterinarians Adapt Human Heart Medical Procedure to Help Dogs

Thanks to the BBC News for this article. Human heart treatment to aid dogs Vets at Edinburgh University have adapted a technique used on human...

Joy  |  Dec 24th 2007


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Thanks to the BBC News for this article.

Human heart treatment to aid dogs

Vets at Edinburgh University have adapted a technique used on human heart patients to give dogs with irregular heartbeats a new lease of life.

The university’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is the first centre in the UK to offer a procedure that uses radiofrequency.

It is used in humans to burn the excess cardiac muscle that causes the heart to short-circuit and beat irregularly.

Until now, the 3,000 treatment has not been readily available for dogs.

The treatment works by stopping the heart from short-circuiting and causing a particular kind of irregular heart beat, or arrhythmia, called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

The dogs have been given a completely new lease of life

Geoff Culshaw
Royal (Dick) School

The condition appears to be most common in Labradors, although it is also found in other breeds, such as boxers and beagles.

Without intervention, the dogs would need to have medication for the rest of their lives and if untreated, the arrhythmia can lead to heart failure.

Three procedures have been carried out so far by the cardiology team at the Hospital for Small Animals at the Royal (Dick) School.

Geoff Culshaw, head at the cardiopulmonary service at the hospital, said: “Labradors are normally energetic dogs. If they need to be placed on lifelong medication to control their arrhythmia, it can become problematic for the owner.

The procedure involves placing catheters into the heart

“Medication can cause dangerous side effects and may not work, so that these lively dogs can go into heart failure at a young age.

“The operations we have carried out have been immensely successful.

“The dogs have been given a completely new lease of life and the owners have been spared the difficulty of giving medication twice daily to their pets.”

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