A referral veterinary centre in Cumbria has been hailed by the owner of an eight-week-old puppy after specialists carried out a high-risk procedure to correct a life-threatening genetic condition.

Isla, an eight-week-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was referred to Linnaeus-owned Kentdale Referrals, in Milnthorpe, Cumbria, after her concerned owners took the tiny pup to their local vets when she started regurgitating food as she was being weaned on to solids.

Experts at the specialist-led referral centre took a CT scan of Isla’s chest to help diagnose the problem, which Jan Beranek, an EBVS European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery at Kentdale, suspected was being caused by a vascular anomaly.

As part of the scans, a sterile solution was injected into Isla’s veins which showed up on the angiography, enabling Jan to visualise the veins and arteries around her heart to check for anomalies.

Indeed, the CT confirmed Isla had a persistent right aortic arch, a congenital abnormality in which a blood vessel that usually seals when the puppy is in the womb had not done so.

Jan said: “In the case of a congenital right aortic arch, it means the blood vessel which has not sealed is actually acting like a tourniquet around the oesophagus, so no food is able to pass through to the stomach.

“In order to treat this anomaly, surgery was required to seal the vessel and stop it restricting the oesophagus so that Isla could eat normally.

“We created an opening in the left side of her chest (a left lateral intercostal thoracotomy) so I could gain access to Isla’s heart and the vessel which needed to be sealed. This is an extremely high-risk procedure. However, it was the only option to try to save Isla.

“Happily, the surgery went well. Isla spent three nights in hospital, where she was carefully monitored by our dedicated nursing and clinical support team, who syringe fed her liquid food to ensure she could keep her food down before moving onto solids again.

“We were then delighted to discharge Isla home to her family, where she continues to recover amazingly well at home.”

Isla’s owner Andrew Scott said: “The team at Kentdale were absolutely amazing. Isla was struggling to keep any food and water down and was subsequently diagnosed with persistent right aortic arch.

“Jan carried out the procedure and the hospital kept us updated throughout the whole process. Four days later, Isla was keeping her food and water down and we honestly can’t thank Kentdale Referrals enough for what they have done for Isla.”

Kentdale Referrals is a specialist-led practice offering expert services in diagnostic imaging, arthroscopy, laparoscopy, anaesthesia, infection control, orthopaedic surgery, spinal surgery, soft tissue surgery and physiotherapy.

For more information on Kentdale Referrals, visit www.kentdalevets.co.uk or search for Kentdale Referrals on social media.

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