Navicent Health nurse helps dogs with donated human pacemakers
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- Like humans, dogs are at risk for developing cardiac complications that interfere with their quality of life along with their life span.
Now, thanks to a partnership between Navicent Health and the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, animals have access to a life-extending device that doesn’t cost so much.
Knowing that surgeries for these types of problems were expensive, Terri Matula, a board-certified cardiovascular nurse for Navicent Health, discovered, after a lot of research, that pacemakers for humans could be used in dogs.
With the help of her husband, Robert Driver, they came up with a solution on how they can use Driver’s old pacemakers when he upgrades to newer ones.
They were confident that with the help of experts at UGA, along with veterinary cardiologist Gregg Rapaport, they would be able to make use of the exchanged, replaced, and older pacemakers someone would get rid of when upgrading.
Matula presented her idea to the cardiac administration team at Navicent.
Now, patients with pacemakers are offered the option of donating their used device.
Only devices of living donors are used for the program.
Since the pacemaker donation program was started in 2018, 41 pacemakers have been donated.
UGA typically implants 5 to 10 pacemakers in dogs each year.
Many of the devices have at least 5 and a half years of battery life remaining on them, offering aging dogs the opportunity for a longer life.
Cooper, the 10-year-old Huskie, has had his pacemaker since June of 2018.
Patients with pacemakers in need of replacement who wish to give to a dog in need can talk with their Navicent Health team about participating in the program.
Any pet owner whose canine receives care from UGA can be part of the program.