Lily with atrioventricular (AV) block
Lily the 9-year-old mixed Bull Terrier initially came to see us for evaluation of limping. However, when she was examined her heart rate was found to be low, about 40 beats per minute compared to 80-120 in normal dogs.
Lily was diagnosed with third degree atrioventricular (AV) block, where the electrical signals from the heart do not get through normally.
This condition also occurs in humans and is treated with a pacemaker – luckily for our pets, we can also do the same procedure in dogs!
Lily had a pacemaker implanted last month and is doing well. Animals can have a wide range of normal heart rates and in general, the bigger an animal is, the slower its heart beats – for example a blue whale’s heart beats only 8-10 times a minute, while a hummingbird’s heart can beat up to 1200 times per minute.