Too Young To Die? Presentation of and Complications in English Springer Spaniels Undergoing Artificial Pacing
In the UK, English Springer Spaniels (ESS) are one of the most common breeds presented for artificial pacing.
We reviewed indication, age, troponin I levels and complications in ESS receiving pacemakers in comparison to other dogs presented for pacing between 2003 and 2007.
Forty-three dogs were paced in that time period, 8 (19%) were ESS. After Labradors, ESS were the second most common breed presenting with 3rd degree atrioventricular block (AVB) (n=6). One ESS with atrial standstill had evidence of myocardial failure before pacing. One ESS had sinus arrest. 50% of the ESS (4/8) were < 3 years old at presentation, which was significantly younger than other dogs (mean 9 years, 2/35 < 5 years). Troponin I levels ranged between 0.27-180 ng/mL (normal < 0.15 ng/mL) in ESS, which was similar to other dogs. However, young ESS had highest troponin I levels. Major complications, such as lead dislodgement, exit block and infection occurred in all of the <3 year old ESS, in contrast to 11% of other dogs paced. However, ESS with major complications were still alive 1.5 and 2 years after procedure. Only one ESS developed heart failure following pacing, regardless of initial troponin I level.
ESS presented for pacing were significantly younger than other dogs. ESS with elevated troponin I at presentation suggesting significant myocardial damage developed major complications after procedure. However, these animals had a marked improvement of clinical signs and quality of life and are still alive 1 and 2 years after procedure.