A newly-launched keyhole surgery service at a Yorkshire animal hospital has saved the lives of three puppies born with potentially fatal heart defects.

In a first for the recently-expanded cardiology service at Paragon Veterinary Referrals, in Wakefield, the three dogs underwent minimally-invasive surgery to close their congenital heart defects.

Cocker Spaniels Merlin and Poppy and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Amelia were all born with Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a defect affecting the aorta and the pulmonary artery.

All three were back on their feet and home within 24 hours after surgery and Merlin and Amelia, who arrived with congestive heart failure, were cured following PDA closure.

Following the arrival of Chris Linney as head of cardiology at Linnaeus-owned Paragon, the centre is now able to offer a plethora of minimally-invasive cardiac procedures.

Chris said: “This is a common complaint which causes profound changes to a dog’s heart function. Without surgery the prognosis is poor, with half of the dogs affected not making it to their first birthday.

“The great news is that early intervention is curative with this condition and normal life expectancy can be achieved.

“The operations for Merlin, Amelia and Poppy all went well and the three of them were back on their feet and home within 24 hours after surgery.”

Paragon recently underwent a £100,000 investment in state-of-the-art cardiology equipment to coincide with Chris’s arrival and the launch of its interventional cardiology service.

Chris added: “It is a truly exciting time for cardiology at Paragon and with the latest equipment upgrade we are able to provide cutting-edge diagnostics and treatments for all canine and feline heart disease, and give our pets the best care available anywhere in the UK.”

Merlin’s owner Louise Jarvis, from Selby, said: “Merlin’s a working cocker spaniel puppy who was only born in February and the breeder did advise us that she had a heart murmur.

“When I took her to the vet for her second jab, I was advised the murmur had gone from a four to a six on the scale, which is as bad as it gets. I felt like the bottom had dropped out of my world, especially having lost three dogs last year.

“I was referred to Chris Linney at Paragon and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

“Merlin was operated on the day she was admitted and came home to us the following day. She is doing incredibly well and Chris has remained in contact for updates and is always available to answer any queries we have.”

Paragon’s multi-disciplinary care includes anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery.

For more information on Paragon Veterinary Referrals, which is part of Linnaeus, visit www.paragonreferrals.co.uk.

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