A newly-launched keyhole surgery service for pets in Yorkshire has saved the lives of three young dogs born with potentially-fatal heart defects.
Chris Linney, head of cardiology at the award-winning Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, successfully used the minimally-invasive surgery to cure the puppies, who are all now expected to go on to live long and happy lives.
Cocker Spaniels Merlin and Poppy and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Amelia were all born with a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a defect affecting two major vessels in the heart – the aorta and the pulmonary artery.
After undergoing surgery at Linnaeus-owned Paragon, all three dogs were back on their feet and home within 24 hours.
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.
“With the increase in dog ownership and new puppy registrations, there has also been an increase in the number of puppies we see born with heart defects.
“The great news is that early surgery is curative for this condition – some heart conditions can be fixed.
“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.”
Merlin’s owner Louise Jarvis, from Selby, was thrilled with the positive outcome to a traumatic experience.
Louise 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.
“I wasn’t overly concerned, as this can be quite common in pups and, besides, we were already attached to her.
“However, 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. The level of care and attention to detail was excellent, they even wanted to know what bowl Merlin prefers to drink from!
“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.”
Lesley Kilcoyne, from Goole, was also taken aback to learn her eight-week-old puppy Amelia had PDA, especially as both of her parents had been fully health-tested.
Lesley said: “I realised there was a problem at her eight-week check when the vet picked up what she thought was an innocent heart murmur.
“In 40-plus years of breeding I have never had a heart murmur picked up at vet check so I was shocked. Two weeks later, it was still there so I contacted a cardiologist who confirmed Amelia had a PDA.
“I was extremely concerned and was referred to Paragon who were excellent. Chris and his team were very professional and supportive, keeping us informed every step of the way, and I would certainly recommend Paragon to other pet owners.”
The trio of treatments is a real success story for Chris and the recently-expanded cardiology service at Paragon, which has undergone a £100,000 investment in state-of-the-art equipment to put the practice at the pinnacle of veterinary cardiology in the UK.
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.”
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.