Movie star Marley’s heart condition

05 June 2023

Blog | News

A lovely 9 year-old Dalmatian called Marley who recently starred in the Disney film ‘Cruella’ with Emma Stone, was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart complaint.

He was referred to us as he was found to be suffering from cardiac arrhythmia, which is an irregular heart beat or rhythm. Laurent Locquet, one of our Cardiology Consultants operated to place a life-saving 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. However he fell ill and 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, 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 also necessary.

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

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.”

Marley’s owner said: “I was shocked and very concerned when I first learned the extent of Marley’s condition. I’m glad I agreed for him to have 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.”