Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death in Dogs
LSU Cardiology starts an ICD program for dogs
There is hope for dogs at risk of sudden cardiac death! Until recently, only drugs, known as antiarrhythmics, were available to manage life-threatening arrhythmias in dogs with cardiac disease. Unfortunately, while they may improve the pet's quality of life, they may not decrease the risk of unexpected cardiac arrest.
In 2008, the Cardiology Service at LSU was able to place an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, in a young German Shepherd dog. ICDs are small electrical devices, placed subcutaneously and connected to an electrode inside the heart, that are able to detect life-threatening arrhythmias and stop them by delivering an electrical shock.
ICDs ar no currently used in dogs because of cost-related limitations and the technical challenges associated with the use of devices designed for people in dogs.
Through a partnership with St. Jude Medical, The Cardiology Service at LSU is now ready to implant ICDs to treat dogs judged to be at high-risk for sudden death.
Candidates for ICD implantations are:
- Boxers with clinical signs and ventricular tachycardia not responsive to standard antiarrhythmic medications.
- Dobermans with cardiomyopathy and collapsing episodes
- German Shepherd dogs with severe inherited ventricular arrhythmias
- Large-breed dogs with sever arrhythmias secondary to Chagas disease
To this day, only 2 ICDs have been placed in pets (the first one at Washington State University and the second at Louisiana State University). We hope that through this program we will be able to help some beloved pets and increase the knowledge about the use of ICDs in dogs.
Contact us if you have any questions about this program.
Phone 225-578-9600 (ask to speak to a cardiologist)