A severely ill dog has made a miraculous recovery thanks to lifesaving chest surgery carried out by one of the South West’s leading small animal hospitals. 

The highly complex operation on seven-year-old Hugo, a Hungarian vizsla, was performed at Linnaeus-owned Cave Veterinary Specialists near Wellington, in Somerset, after Specialists found fluid had been continuously building up in the sac surrounding the beloved pet’s heart. 

Hugo’s deterioration in health had been rapid, according to his owner Gabi Morse, who lives near Sherborne in Dorset. 

Gabi said Hugo had gone from being a very active dog, to very lethargic, despondent and without appetite in just a matter of hours. 

Quickly realising something was wrong with her pet, Gabi took Hugo to her local vets.

Hugo’s vet removed fluid from around his heart but was worried that Hugo was not recovering as expected and he was quickly referred to Cave.

There was concern that there was a mass causing the fluid build-up, and Hugo underwent a detailed assessment by the Heart Vets cardiology team.

Cardiologist Alex Laver drained a large volume of fluid from around Hugo’s heart and he was stabilised in hospital. Advanced imaging with a CT scan showed no obvious cause for the fluid, which is called a Pericardial effusion.

Gabi said: “Hugo had always enjoyed good health and the spontaneous and unknown nature of his problem was a shock. 

“We had no previous knowledge of his health condition, so it was very unexpected.” 

Despite several successful procedures to drain the fluid around Hugo’s heart, it had refilled dangerously quickly and the decision was made for Hugo to undergo a major chest surgery, called a subtotal pericardiectomy.

Gabi added: “We considered the surgery with great anxiety as it was very serious and held much trepidation. 

“However, the team at Cave cared for Hugo with the prefect combination of expertise, utmost professionalism, sensitivity and compassion. 

“Hugo has made a miraculous and complete recovery and enjoys a full life for which we are extraordinarily grateful.” 

Oli Gilman, European Specialist in small animal surgery helped to manage Hugo’s case alongside Alex.

Speaking about the procedure Oli said: “After the fluid in the sac around the heart had been drained, we then performed a subtotal pericardiectomy. 

“This is a relatively rare procedure in which we opened his chest and removed as much of the inflamed sac as possible to prevent recurrence of fluid build-up and subsequent constriction of the heart.

“Hugo underwent several weeks’ recovery, including recuperation at home, and it’s great to know he’s back to his normal happy self.”

Cave offers comprehensive, specialist-led services in anaesthesia, cardiology, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, orthopaedic surgery and soft tissue surgery.

For more information on Cave Veterinary Specialists, visit https://cave-vet-specialists.co.uk or search for Cave Veterinary Specialists on social media. 

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