We were thrilled to help mend a puppy’s broken heart just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Bertie, a 10-month-old Malshi – a cross between a Maltese and a Shih Tzu – was taken by his new owner Kellie Anderson to us for a healthy puppy check.
He had already been diagnosed with a very mild heart murmur at a vet when he was just a few weeks old, before Kellie had taken him home as her pet.
During our health check, when Bertie was approximately 11 weeks old, our vet Jenny Lowe quickly picked up that the heart murmur had got dramatically worse and was now life threatening. She immediately referred Bertie to our clinical director Vanessa Waite.
Vanessa said: “I noticed an abnormal blood flow in the pulmonary artery, one of the vessels which exits the heart. It was too narrow.
“The pressure in this vessel was too high which can cause the heart to struggle and eventually fail.
“Bertie was diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis and had it been left any longer, he could have died.”
Bertie was referred for cardiac surgery to North Downs Specialist Referrals in Bletchingley.
Experts there used a technique called balloon valvuloplasty, which uses an inflated balloon to open up the abnormal vessel allowing blood to flow more easily. This is a specialist procedure only performed in a small number of specialist hospitals in the UK.
Vanessa added: “It’s rather apt that we were able to diagnose Bertie and get his broken heart fixed just in time for him to spend time with his loving new owner.
“A follow-up scan we carried out has shown he is doing brilliantly so we are all absolutely delighted.
“Sometimes a dog will not show any outward signs that something is seriously wrong which is why services such as healthy puppy checks are so important.
“Heart murmurs can progress from minor to life threatening in a very short space of time.”
Owner Kellie said: “I knew he had a mild heart murmur but it didn’t make any difference to my decision as to take him home as my pet. So what if he was a little broken? That just meant he needed a loving home even more.
“But within a relatively short space of time things had got dramatically worse.
“Hearing the news at Vet4life that things were so bad with his heart was just the worst thing and I was absolutely terrified.
“What Vet4life and North Downs did for him is simply amazing. They mended Bertie’s broken heart and I will never forget them for that. They’re skill and compassion are both immeasurable.”
Kellie urged dog owners who have been told their dogs have a heart murmur to get them monitored regularly because of the frightening speed in which a mild murmur can deteriorate and become a threat to life.