Scooby's Story

July 31, 2009 | By Heather G. | 2 comments

Tags: labrador retriever

Never give up hope...

Frequent flier miles help save beloved Labrador

The first clue that something was wrong with Scooby, a 6-year-old Labrador retriever, was a loud thud from the kids’ room when the 85-pound dog fainted. “Scooby just fell over, but he jumped right back up so we didn’t think much about it,” says owner Gary Anthon. But over time, Scooby’s fainting episodes increased and he lost weight. The family’s veterinarian diagnosed third-degree, or complete, heart block and gave Scooby three weeks to live unless a pacemaker was implanted in his heart. Although the Utah residents researched local options for treatment, they decided to participate in a clinical trial for canine heart-block patients with Dr. Amara Estrada, a veterinary cardiology specialist at the University of Florida. Through the study, funded by Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), Estrada has enrolled 17 dogs since January 2007. Her investigation focuses on the location of the pacemaker and its impact on long-term prognosis and quality of life in patients. Estrada’s work compares pacemaker placement in the right ventricular apex, left ventricular free wall and biventricular areas within the heart.
“The challenges of getting Scooby to Florida for the program were not easy,” recalls Anthon, who said the family used frequent flier miles to fly Scooby cross-country
five times for his treatments. He landed in Florida for the first treatment in March 2007, and Estrada and her team took Scooby in as a boarder during his three-month
recovery and several times thereafter for rechecks. On his last recheck—in 2008—Scooby got a clean bill of health. “Scooby returned home and he was cured,” Anthon says.
“It was as if he never had a problem at all. He was healthy and full of energy, completely back to normal. We cannot imagine what that spring would have been like watching
Scooby die. Instead, Scooby is now running around playing with the kids thanks to Morris Animal Foundation, Dr. Estrada, fellow cardiologist Dr. Herbert Maisenbacher and veterinary technician Melanie Powell—Scooby’s best friend.”
Complete heart block can occur in all dog breeds, so Estrada’s work will have far-reaching effects. The findings have the potential to change the method of implanting pacemakers in veterinary patients.
Thanks to this study, Scooby is alive today and weighing in at a healthy
100 pounds.
Comments (2)

6 years ago

I am so glad Scooby made it, it also good to know new procedures that can help up keep alive longer & the most important, good quality of life. Thank you

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