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Royal Veterinary College Performs Groundbreaking Open-Heart Surgery on Dog

This marks the first time a surgery of this kind has ever been done.

Dr. Dan Brockman with Mabel outside the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at RVC.

The Royal Veterinary College/Facebook

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Mabel, a 3-year-old Labrador, had congenital tricuspid dysplasia, which resulted in her being increasingly fatigued after exercise. She also had trouble keeping up with the other dog in the household. Because Mabel’s tricuspid valve was completely fused in the middle and there were just two very small holes for her blood to flow through, her abdomen had fluid buildup and she developed heart failure, Royal Veterinary College (RVC) stated in a recent press release.

Mabel was subsequently referred to cardiology specialists at the small animal referral hospital at RVC. Dan Brockman, BVSc, CertVR, CertSAO, DipACVS, DipECVS, performed surgery on Mabel at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals. RVC specialists assisted the Professor of Small Animal Surgery and Head of Department of Clinical Science and Services with pre- and post-operative care. Students at RVC conducted Mabel’s initial examinations, which included a cardiac ultrasound.

Annabelle Meek, Mabel’s owner, knew of the risks involved in the surgery, which, according to Dr. Brockman, were “much worse than most other operations. In our hands, for this type of disease, we have about an 80-percent chance of getting them through the procedure. The owner has to gamble what life the dog has left against the promise of a more normal quality of life and lifespan following the operation.”

Meek agreed to the surgery despite the risks and is grateful she did. Two weeks after the surgery, Meek said, “Mabel has just come back in from wandering around the perimeter of my garden for the first time since before the operation. It’s more than half an acre and she has been ambling around happily following a scent. I would like to thank absolutely everybody. It’s been an enormous team effort on all sides. Every single person I met at the RVC, from the man on the gate to all the hospital staff, was so friendly. After she came home Dan Brockman phoned me every day to see how she was doing. The RVC should be very proud of what they have done for Mabel.”

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The surgery was not only successful but groundbreaking as well.

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