Toby gets an EKG

As everyone may remember, Toby was scheduled for pacemaker surgery last Thursday but at the last minute, the doctor wanted us to try one other drug therapy with prednisone.  I promised an update on Toby after his surgery postponement. Today was to be his checkup to see if there has been any improvement in his heart function.

I went into today’s visit fully believing we would be walking out with a surgery date. We had seen some improvement since starting the prednisone late last week, but Monday he seemed to slip back into his lethargic, I-don’t-want-to-move existence. I wasn’t holding out much hope, but it’s been a good day here at Sheltie Nation HQ!

The cardiologist first hooked Toby up for an EKG. An EKG (electrocardiogram) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. He reported that Toby’s heart rate is much improved from his average slow, 60-70 beats per minute. (Today it was around 100, which is considered a normal range for a dog his size.) The cardiologist also saw much fewer dropped beats than the last time he was in. That means the signal that goes from his brain to his heart – telling it to beat, is performing more accurately and consistently than it was a week ago.

He then double checked his enlargement with the ultrasound to compare it to the last one performed. His enlargement did decrease, but only by about one millimeter but hey, we will take it as good news because it didn’t get any bigger!  Given all these positive results today, the cardiologist recommended we NOT schedule him for surgery!


Toby’s Ultrasound

So the plan going forward is to try and find the lowest dose level of prednisone that he can take while getting the maximum benefits. Normally prednisone is not recommended for cardiac patients and Toby’s cardiologist said he can count one one hand the number of patients he treats with this drug. Lucky for Toby it seems to be working for him. If he continues to do well on a low dose of prednisone, the cardiologist doesn’t need to see him again for another 3 months. Now THAT would be wonderful!

Of course Toby was the perfect patient and got lots of treats when it was all over. He always makes new friends where ever he goes.

Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes as my family stressed through this past week. I would have never thought today’s outcome would be filled with good news. The power of all your Sheltie lover’s prayers! :))


The cutest (and most cooperative) patient!