Willows’ Specialist Heart Team Claim UK First

26 February 2021

Our incredibly talented Specialist Cardiology team have carried out life-saving surgery to repair heart defects on FIVE different puppies in a single day – a UK record for the number of life-saving heart operations in one day.

Head of Cardiology here at Willows, Chris Linney, and fellow RCVS and EBVS Heart Specialist Brigite Pedro are two of the country’s most experienced interventional cardiologists who performed the incredible five-in-a-day feat.

Following the successful surgeries, a delighted Chris said: “Willows’ Cardiology team is widely recognised as one of the most experienced and established services in the UK and this remarkable day in theatre illustrates why.

“We are very lucky to have some of the best facilities, equipment and staff to be able to provide such world-leading veterinary care for our patients.

“We were concerned that the number of puppies being sent to us for treatment of heart problems has been rising and we were very keen to avoid a waiting list building up, which could have led to treatment having to be postponed for some pets.

“It was so fulfilling to successfully operate on five puppies with heart defects in one day and the best news is they all now have a fantastic shot at leading normal lives.

“To be able to help puppies such as this, who would otherwise have a very bleak future, is truly one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.”

Snuggles, a French Bulldog; Basil, a Norfolk Terrier; and crossbreeds Betty, Lola and Luna, are the living proof of that, as we marked February, which is National Heart Month in the UK, in fine style.

Snuggles was first on the operating table, having surgery to repair a pulmonic stenosis, a malformation of the heart’s pulmonic valve, which obstructs the flow of blood from the heart into the lungs.

Betty, Basil, Lola were next in line during an intensive morning of surgeries, with Luna the fifth and final patient to be treated in the afternoon.

All four pups were treated for a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, a common birth defect that can cause heart failure if not treated and repaired quickly.

Brigite explained: “Without surgery, these puppies were destined to lead much shorter lives but we were able to treat them successfully which means they should all now lead perfectly healthy lives.

“So, the most important message from all of this is that a heart murmur in a young animal is not an automatic death sentence.

“It may be possible to correct it, so my best advice to owners is to talk to your vet about an ultrasound scan to find out more about your pet’s problem and what treatments and surgeries are available.”