Date: 2010-07-17 01:41:03 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Heart Block - Pacemaker? Need your help
>From the posts - there appear to be two or more concomitant conditions with this ferret, and it is a bit confusing because there are several posts with conflicting or unclear information.
2nd degree AV heartblock is more than a very slow heart rate. The heart actually stops. The medications are intended to either kick start it again or to keep it from stopping. Ergo the need for the pacemaker to keep it beating at an appropriate and steady heart rate.
Has an echocardiogram been done to confirm that there isn't underlying pathology of the heart? That is, whether the heartblock is idiopathic or if there is cardiomyopathy, etc.
If there is no underlying pathology then he is a good candidate for a pacemaker. However, if he has a chest mass or another condition a pacemaker is not likely to help.
Has an EKG been done? Atropine test i.e, EKG reading, atropine injection, EKG reading?? Is this the test/drug that was initially used?
Have veterinary cardiologists been consulted? Have the EKG results been posted to the cardiology section of VIN for expert input?
I suspect all of this may have been done.
This condition is challenging to manage medically until a pacemaker is put in place because not all ferrets respond the same way to the various medications. That is, IF all he has is a 2nd degree heart block. Here is where expert, that is, a veterinary cardiologists' opinion is invaluable.
However, from the latest posts it would appear that there is much more going on here if for example, there is a mass in the chest. In such a case I can't imagine a pacemaker is being considered???
It is not uncommon when dealing with a serious life-threatening illness in oneself, a loved one, including a beloved animal companion - not to 'hear' or assimilate information well nor to communicate it clearly.
This is understandable, given the circumstances.
I think perhaps we aren't getting the whole picture - or at least not a clear picture, and that makes it difficult to know which shared personal experiences might prove beneficial or helpful to you.
--- In email@example.com, TR1212@... wrote
> At the U of GA it was discovered that he has 2nd degree AV heartblock. Very
> slow heart rate. Yesterday they tried a med, sorry don't remember which
> one, but it was apparently a drug that is fast acting and they tried it
> believing that if it did work they could try one of the drugs like theophylline,
> etc. It didn't work so today they tried Isoproteronol (?) in a drip for an
> hour or so. It didn't work. They had suggested that we do a biopsy of the
> chest mass and if it is not lymphoma, he's had two aspirates, both came
> back negative but they said that my not be a true reading, we would do a
> What I need to know, has anyone had experience with this before where a
> drug may not have worked right away? And if they do the biopsy they said that
> it would be a 15-30 minute procedure and they would use injectable
> anesthesia. I had always read here to use Iso or Sevo so that was a huge concern to
> me. I had also read that when Iso or Sevo are used, premeds are often not
> needed, but the Dr today said that they would use other "pre" drugs even if
> they used Iso or Sevo.
> I want to do the absolute best for my little Hobbs. If the meds don't work,
> then his heart is in really bad shape. And therefore he is. If we do the
> biopsy and pacemaker, I'm afraid also for his heart so want to know the
> absolute best way to go about it.
> This is making me so anxious. I really need your help. I so appreciate any
> advice or direction any of you can give me.
> Thanks so much,
> Tiffany and Hobbs
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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