A Dalmatian which featured in the recent Disney film ‘Cruella’, starring Emma Stone, suffered a cruel blow after being diagnosed with a life-threatening heart complaint.

Nine-year-old Marley needed expert care after he was found to be suffering from cardiac arrhythmia, which is an irregular heart beat or rhythm.

He was referred for expert care at Linnaeus-owned Dick White Referrals (DWR), in Cambridgeshire, where consultant in cardiology Laurent Locquet operated to place a pacemaker.

Laurent said: “Marley’s story is remarkable. He’s a rescue dog who’s made a name for himself after appearing with actress Emma Stone in the ‘Cruella’ film.

“Suddenly life took a downturn, though, when he fell ill and he was referred to us to investigate.

“Those investigations revealed he had cardiac arrhythmia, in Marley’s case a very low heart rate, which can be a high risk condition and even lethal, so we opted to implant a pacemaker.

“It’s a minor surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the neck to allow access to the jugular vein.

“A wire is passed through the vein into the heart muscle and is then connected at the other end to the pacemaker, which is subsequently placed under the skin.

“The pacemaker’s role is to sense the heart’s own activity and intervene if the heart rate falls below a programmed level.”

Dogs recover quickly from surgery but it can take a few weeks for a pacemaker to become securely attached to the heart, so rest and restricted activity is recommended during this time. Regular rechecks of the different functions and parameters of the pacemaker are necessary as well.

Marley’s recovery is certainly going well, though, and has been carefully monitored at DWR’s sister clinic, Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire, which is also owned by Linnaeus and is close to Marley’s home in Tring, Hertfordshire.

Davies’ cardiology specialist Lara Barron said: “At his most recent appointment it was clear that Marley’s pacemaker is working beautifully with no complications.

“He will continue to have frequent rechecks every six to12 months to assess the performance of the pacemaker and its battery life but we’re very pleased with his improvement.”

So is Marley’s owner, Laura Fantham, who said: “I was shocked, anxious and very concerned when I first learned the extent of Marley’s condition.

“However, I didn’t have time to dwell on it too much because I had to make a decision whether he should have the surgery or not.

“I’m glad I agreed to the operation as he has fully recovered and, now he is on the appropriate support medication, he is back to his playful, robust self.

“The DWR veterinary team, led by Laurent, were all very attentive and dedicated. Their communication throughout his stay with them was reassuringly frequent and their knowledge and care were superb.

“We’ve also received excelled post-operative care from Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hitchin, who have been first class.”

Dick White Referrals offers specialist-led care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, diagnostic pathology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, interventional radiology, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, physiotherapy and soft tissue surgery.

For more information, visit www.dickwhitereferrals.com or search for Dick White Referrals on social media.

Davies Veterinary Specialists is one of the largest and most diverse small animal referral hospitals in Europe, with more than 200 Veterinary Specialists, Registered Veterinary Nurses and Veterinary professionals.

For more information, visit https://vetspecialists.co.uk/

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