29 November 2021

Two French bulldog brothers suffering from severe pulmonic stenosis have successfully had life-changing surgery here at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service.

Mickey and Stitch were referred to our specialist-led cardiology team here at Willows for treatment of the congenital disease, which is characterised by a narrowing of the pulmonic valve.

The pulmonic valve divides the right ventricle from the pulmonary artery and, when it is open, it allows blood to flow from the heart into the lungs, therefore any narrowing poses potentially fatal consequences if left untreated.

Fabio Sarcinella, a European and RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Cardiology, who joined our cardiology team along with the head of service Simon Swift earlier this year, lead on both cases.

The treatment of choice for severe pulmonic stenosis is a minimally invasive procedure, which is performed by inserting catheters into the heart via a small skin and vessel incision.

The procedure, called a Balloon Valvuloplasty (BVP) is performed under general anaesthetic which allows for the insertion of a ballooned catheter across the pulmonic valve.

Fabio said: “During a BVP procedure, when the balloon is inflated it causes stretching of the narrowed valve, resulting in a better blood flow towards the lungs.

“Mickey and Stitch both underwent successful BVPs on the same day and were very happy to be able to share the same kennel for the night following the procedure!”

Both Mickey and Stitch recovered in our ICU department before being discharged to their grateful owners the following day.

Our internationally-renowned team of cardiology specialists performs around 40 BVPs per year, supported by our excellent cardiology nurses and anaesthesia team.