Date: 2009-08-04 01:02:46 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] High grade second degree AV block & pacemaker
My almost 6 year-old female ferret (DOB Sept 6, 2003)was playing and running last week with a ferret companion and suddenly collapsed. EKG and chest x-rays followed. Echocardiagram recommended to be performed by cardiologist - not available locally. After posting the results onto VIN, plus sending them to a cardiologist a high grade second or third degree AV block was suspected.
She underwent an atropine response test as recommended to see if medication might be an option. Results were read by a third cardiologist and a high grade second degree AV Block was confirmed. Unclear if medications will help in the long-term because the response was partial. For vets who might be interested:
"So this is all a high grade second degree AV block. It went spontaneously from a 4:1 block (4 P waves for every QRS complex) to a 2:1 block as the atrial rate slowed from around 300 bpm to around 200 bpm. Then when the atropine was given it became variable, ranging from 1 to 1 conduction to 3:1. Ventricular rate started at around 75 bpm, prior to atropine was 100-120 bpm and after atropine is as high as 160 bpm.
So it looks like this block is responsive to atropine and presumably to sympathetic tone (most likely explanation for change between first and second recordings). This would be almost unheard of in a dog but we obviously know very little about ferrets and this condition...."
At any rate consensus by the three cardiologists is that her condition is likely idiopathic and a pacemaker would be the best option. Medication in the interim.
She's already had a second fainting spell and I will be taking her in tomorrow to my vet to discuss medication options.
My question is - has anyone had a ferret implanted with a pacemaker? What was your experience and how did the ferret do longterm?
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