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Colorado State veterinarian successfully replaces dog’s heart valve using catheter

Posted at 6:30 AM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 08:34:16-05
Photo of Sabbath, the first canine recipient of a transcatheter aortic valve replacement. (Colorado State University)

FORT COLLINS – A 7-year-old Malamute dog suffering from heart failure is now doing well after vets at Colorado State University successfully completed a groundbreaking heart surgery for canines.

CSU veterinary cardiologist Brian Scansen completed the first-ever transcatheter aortic valve replacement in a dog. The procedure is available for humans, and because of that, UCHealth assisted with the surgery.

“It takes a little while to find the right patient, and Sabbath was a perfect patient,” Scansen said.

Sabbath’s owners brought him all the way from California for the procedure.  In a Facebook live video from the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Scansen said Sabbath experienced an infection, which damaged one of his heart valves. Due to other health concerns, vets determined open heart surgery could be too risky for the pup, and decided to try the valve replacement using a catheter.

“We hope this means we will be able to offer more options and less invasive options to treat valve disease in dogs,” Scansen said. “Unfortunately, disease of the heart valve is one of the more common issues we see.”

Just like the procedure for humans, Scansen was able to put the new valve in by using an artery in the dog’s leg. Scansen said Sabbath will no longer need the medications he needed before the surgery, and he said Sabbath has a clean bill of health moving forward!