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Shady Is Setting The Pace

By July 9, 2018November 14th, 2018News

Shady, a male 8 year 8 month old domestic shorthair cat, was examined and found to have a slow heart rate (80 beats/minute). The normal heart rate in a cat should be 160-240 beats/minute. Shady had a rhythm abnormality called 3rd degree AV block (also called “complete heart block”), which meant there was a block in the transmission of impulses from the normal pacemaker in his heart (situated at the top of the heart) down to the bottom of his heart (to the ventricles). An “escape” rhythm was keeping Shady alive which originated from the bottom of the heart.

The slow heart rate caused Shady to be very lethargic; this, in addition to his chronic bladder issues, potentially requiring frequent general anaesthetics, led the owner to elect for Shady to have a pacemaker fitted. The pacemaker would ensure that, should the “escape” rhythm fail, Shady’s heart would not stop. In addition it meant that Shady would be able to increase his heart rate to higher than 80 beats/minute during exercise, giving him more energy (due to the increased blood and oxygen pumped around his body). Catherine Sturgeon, from Visiting Vet Specialists (, and Carl Bradbrook, from Acevets (, were called in for the operation.

Catherine (specialist soft tissue surgeon), Carl (specialist anaesthetist) and I worked together as a team to implant the pacemaker. The intricate operation was a success and Shady took it all in his stride. Recent interrogation of Shady’s pacemaker showed that Shady could (with the help of the pacemaker) increase his heart rate to 130 beats/minute during periods of activity. In fact, if Shady was feeling incredibly active, his heart rate could increase to 185 beats/minute. The owner also reported that Shady appeared to have a lot more energy and was more playful.

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