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Puppy given new lease of life

Puppy With Heart Condition Given New Lease of Life Thanks To SCVS

A tiny puppy so ill with a heart condition her owner knew she faced certain death has been given a new lease of life by vets.

Four-month-old Jack Russell cross Bishy Barnabee’s condition was so advanced, the team at Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists (SCVS) found her “almost beyond death’s door”.

They had to try a medical intervention to even give the possibility of trying life-saving minimally invasive surgery. And during the subsequent operation on the critically advanced PDA, the dog suffered cardiovascular arrest and had to be resuscitated.

But they carried out a second operation which has proved to be such a success the puppy now has a chance for a brighter future and a hugely improved quality of life.

The condition was initially spotted during a routine check when the puppy was in for a vaccination and she was ultimately referred to IVC Evidensia referral hospital Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists in Ringwood, Hampshire.

“The dog was in heart failure and was referred to us with the PDA,” said Clinical Director and Head of Cardiology Tobi Wagner.

“Usually, we see these patients early enough when they are still quite stable.

“At presentation at SCVS, she had also developed severe pulmonary hypertension, resulting in reversal of the flow.

“As she had severe exercise intolerance and dyspnoea, we decided to attempt treatment and started her on a very high dose of sildenafil.

“This resulted in a reduction in pulmonary pressures and a bidirectional shunt across the PDA was present the following day, giving the option of a closure attempt.”

Due to the patients’ size, a transvenous closure of the PDA was attempted.

However, because of the fragile state of Bishy Barnabee’s right heart, cardiovascular arrest occurred during the attempt of passing the catheter through the right ventricle.

Following successful resuscitation, the intervention was therefore abandoned and the dog recovered.
“Cardiac re-assessment three weeks later showed ongoing bidirectional shunt through the PDA vessel,” said Mr Wagner.

“In the light of the very poor quality of life, the owners opted for a second closure attempt.

“The slightly increased patient size allowed us to access the femoral artery and we were finally able to successfully close the PDA via trans-arterial access.

“Having a dog that was really almost beyond death’s door initially, it’s very satisfying to see her exercise intolerance is much better and her quality of life is improving all the time.”

For owner Mrs Claire Whickman, from Newbury, Berkshire, the transformation has been remarkable.

“She wasn’t doing any exercise and she was so out of it she’d barely raise her head if you walked into a room,” said Mrs Whickman.

“We knew we had to give her an option, because even if there was a risk from the surgeries then she had no chance at all without them.

“She’s a normal happy puppy now and if you didn’t know what had happened, you’d never realise there had been anything wrong. She’s infinitely better.

“It’s like a magic wand has been waved over her.”