Woman and pet dog both fitted with pacemakers after being diagnosed with same condition

Woman and pet dog both fitted with pacemakers after being diagnosed with same condition

A pet owner has a special bond with her dog after they were both fitted with the same type of pacemaker. Catherine Pipon, 41, had her cardiovascular device inserted when she was diagnosed with the medical condition heart block. But nearly three years later, her five-year-old Cairn Terrier Molly was diagnosed with the same thing. Ms Pipon spent £3,500 and even had her beloved dog flown to London on a private plane from her home in Jersey to have the pacemaker fitted.

The mother of two and her dog now both have Medtronic pacemakers to deal with heart block, a condition in which their organs both miss a beat. The pacemakers are nearly identical and their ailments are so similar they even share medical appointments.

Ms Pipon, from St Helier, said: "We both have Medtronic pacemakers, but different models. Molly has a very basic one, whereas mine is MRI safe.

"Now we both see the same doctor for check-ups. The technology needed to check pacemakers is very specific.

"It's not something you could plug into any laptop, and there is only one on the island and that is in the general hospital.

"I have my pacemaker checked during normal working hours, but we take Molly after hours when there aren't any other patients around.

"We don't want to upset anyone. We are so grateful for the hospital for helping us - they have been fantastically accommodating."

Ms Pipon first realsied there was a problem when she began passing out, but she sought medical attention when the spells started to get more frequent and severe.

She said: "It would happen so regularly that my family would just step over me, because they knew I would wake up eventually.

"To begin with they would call ambulances for me, but by the time I got to hospital I would be fine and they would wonder why I was there.

"Eventually I told them to just leave me on the floor. I collapsed in a restaurant one evening, and the staff just thought I was a drunk - they pushed me to the side and carried on.

"My family only found out when they saw my boots sticking out from under a table. One time I collapsed in the main shopping centre.

"When I came to I heard my daughter saying, 'oh my God, mum, I'm so embarrassed. There are people from my school here. That's when I decided to get medical attention."

In June 2011, Ms Pipon was diagnosed and had her pacemaker fitted, which she said has given her a new lease of life.

However, Molly became ill in July 2014 and was also diagnosed with heart block - with the only solution to install a pacemaker.

Ms Pipon said: "I was relieved. Having been through it myself, I knew she would be able to lead a healthy normal life after it was fitted."

A few days later, she organised the treatment and booked a private plane to an airfield near London so Molly could have the treatment at the Royal Veterinary College. The procedure, costing £3,500, was a success, and Molly has returned to the family home a happy and healthy dog.

Their conditions and pacemakers are so similar that Molly and Catherine share appointments with Dr Andrew Mitchell, consultant cardiologist at the Jersey General Hospital

Ms Pipon said: "She had gone from a happy dog to a very unhealthy dog in a matter of weeks. She nearly didn't make it, but oh my God she is better than ever now."

By Agency,

The Telegraph, Thursday 19 February 2015

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