Cardiology specialists at a leading small animal hospital have performed pioneering ablation surgery to successfully treat a Labrador Retriever’s life-threatening congenital heart condition. 

The highly complex surgery at Linnaeus-owned Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hitchin, which is only carried out by a handful of referral centres in the world, was successfully led by American Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology Lara Barron. 

Bailey had been previously diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, meaning his heart rate could race at a rate of 300 beats per minute. 

In Bailey’s case, this arrhythmia was due to an accessory pathway, which is an abnormal connection between the atria and ventricles. 

Labrador Retrievers such as Bailey are predisposed to this congenital arrhythmia. If left untreated, this rhythm can lead to dilation of the heart and eventually heart failure. 

Medical treatment to control the arrhythmia was unsuccessful and Bailey, whose health was rapidly deteriorating, was referred for an ablation at Davies, one of only four veterinary centres in the world which can carry out such a procedure. 

The surgery itself uses a special device which burns the abnormal area within the heart where electrical signals are causing irregular heartbeats. 

Following the successful surgery, Bailey was monitored at Davies for three days, before being able to return home under the watchful supervision of his grateful owner. 

Lara, head of cardiology at Davies, said: “Bailey was referred to Davies with supraventricular tachycardia. 

“He was anaesthetised and catheters were placed inside his heart to map the source of his arrhythmia. 

“An accessory pathway was identified and successfully destroyed using the cardiac ablation procedure. 

“Following the successful surgery, Bailey’s heart is performing well. Further heart scans and ECG were normal and revealed no recurrence of his arrhythmia, which is fantastic news.” 

Owner Karen Wallace, who lives near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, said: “Bailey is the apple of our eye and we’re so thankful his broken heart has been fixed. 

“The standard of care at Davies was amazing and he’s a transformed dog. We were so lucky they were able to carry out the procedure.” 

For more information about Davies and the wide range of specialist-led services it offers, visit or search for them on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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