Save Bowies Heart

Bowie needs your help and so do we.

Bowie is the most loving 7 month King Charles Cavalier that will pass away if we don't get his emergency surgery on his heart done next week.

Here is our story over the last couple of days...

On the 4th of August Bowie was taken to our local vet for acting extremely quiet, making strange sounds and not acting his usual playful self. Upon inspection and x-rays it was clear his heart rate was dangerously low and was admitted to the Emergency Care clinic in Collingwood, Victoria.

Upon further inspection at the Emergency Care, Bowie had an unusually low heart rate, HR, (measured at 35-40 beats a minute). For a young dog of his size a HR of 120-140 would be more normal. In order to compensate for his slow HR, Bowie’s blood pressure was higher than it should be. An ECG was attached to Bowie and it became apparent that the slow HR was probably caused by a condition called AV Block - where not all of the electrical signals that tell the heart to beat make it through to the ventricles (the big chambers that do the actual pumping). By default, in the absence of any instructions to beat at a particular rate, Bowie’s ventricles spontaneously beat at a rate of 30-40 beats a minute. This keeps him alive but the rate will not speed up in response to the normal things that will speed up the heart (e.g. exercise, fear, pain, poor oxygen delivery to the tissues). Bowie was then kept overnight at the Emergency for a close watch.

Clinically the consequence of this is poor exercise tolerance, lethargy and excessive inactivity. Because of these ECG findings, and evidence on his chest radiographs that he has a slight enlargement of his heart, Bowie was referred to Cardiorespiratory Referrals for an ultrasound of his heart (and Echocardiogram) and repeat ECG, to try to get to the bottom of his problem. This cost us a further $635.00.

The findings from the Cardiologist was the following

1) Bowie does, indeed, have AV block. More specifically he has 3ʳᵈ degree AV block meaning that NO electrical signals are making it through to the ventricles and they are beating spontaneously at a fixed slow rate of 30-40 bpm

2) Further to this, his atria, the smaller top chambers of the heart, are not beating correctly. The left atrium is not doing any work at all. This is a VERY unusual and rare finding and has only been reported in the scientific literature a few times

At present Bowie’s left atrium appears to have failed but his right is still working. It may be that we have managed to capture his condition in transition between going from two normally functioning atria to the point where BOTH of them stop working. Failure of both atria to contract is called ‘Atrial Standstill’ and it is very likely that, eventually, Bowie’s right atrium will stop beating too.
That said, beating atria are not STRICTLY necessary for the heart to support blood flow through the body. That is the job of the ventricles and as long as they are beating the Bowie will be able to keep functioning. In that respect, for Bowie’s current condition, the treatment is STILL the implantation of a cardiac pacemaker which will support the function of the ventricles, make them beat at a normal rate and, for a time, allow him to live a normal life.
Due to the likelihood that Bowie has AMD, we would expect that, eventually, his heart will fail to do its job properly, despite the pacemaker. Thus, the investment in pacemaker implantation into Bowie will likely dramatically improve his quality of life in the short term but it is expected they his heart muscle will slowly degrade over time and he will eventually go into heart failure. At this point he will, unfortunately, need to be put to sleep. Dr Nicolson has speculated that the time it will take for Bowie’s heart to fail may be in the order of years however
because the case reports are few, it is possible that it could happen much faster. 

After this response we decided to contact the cardiologist again to ask if in his opinion a pace maker is an option even though his heart may still die in the next couple of years, he told us that it was. As soon as we received this news we decided to save our furbaby and are making an appointment for surgery in the next few days. The problem is we can not afford this surgery or the vet bills that have incurred over the last few days and are asking you, our friends or anyone who can help us to help out in any way they can.

The surgery needed to save Bowies life will still be a significant cost for our family. 

So far it has cost us $1778.65 to discover his broken heart, and will cost us a further $5000+ for his pacemaker and recovery medication etc.

Our goal is $7,500 to cover the cost of Bowies future heart pacemaker surgery, gofundme fees, and the cost of the emergency treatment he has incurred already to keep him alive.

Thank you for taking the time to read Bowie's story.

This fund raising is to help provide ANY and ALL additional expenses that will be incurred, and all funds raised will go directly for these bills. Any person that donates a goal rate will receive a free photo session in Melbourne Australia! More examples of my work over at

More photos of bowie over on instagram at

UPDATE: Sadly Bowie lost his battle on the 17th August.
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Georgia Verrells
Northcote VIC

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