FORT MYERS, Fla.- An 8-year-old miniature poodle underwent the first pacemaker implantation surgery in Lee County. Karamel, weighs ten pounds and was recently diagnosed with heart problems.
Last month, Ann Ransom's daughter took Karamel to the veterinarian who suggested she go see a cardiologist. Ransom then took Karamel to see Sarah Scruggs at Specialized Veterinary Services.
Ransom said Scruggs recommended Karamel get the procedure because she was a perfect candidate.
"Being about 8 years old, she would have another seven to eight years with the pacemaker, without it she could just have a heart attack or heart spell at any point in time," said Ransom.
She did some research and decided to go ahead with the surgery.
Scruggs said, "The phenomenon of a dog getting a pacemaker is not rare, but I would say its relatively uncommon in veterinary medicine."
She said the first pacemaker implantation to a dog was done in the 1980s.
For the past six years, Scruggs has implanted 12 to 15 pacemakers in different dogs. She said the pacemakers come in all different sizes and are donated.
"There are human medical companies that for various reasons have a surplus of pacemakers that haven't been used previously but can no longer, for whatever reason, be used in human patients." She went on to say, "Some of those medical companies are generous enough to donate those to the veterinary community."
Scruggs said there are even some instances where families that have lost loved ones who have a pacemaker, they then donate it to be used in an animal.
The surgery takes about an hour. It cost the Ransom family $2,500. Something they said is well worth it.
"To have your dog for another seven to eight years is a wonderful thing, and you know there are a lot of people who spend that money to acquire a pedigree dog," said Ransom
Karamel is still recovering from surgery, but remains very active.
Scruggs said Karamel will need routine check-ups to make sure the pacemaker is functioning properly and the battery doesn't run low.