Open Heart Surgery for DogsPublished January 25, 2012
Leo, an almost two year-old Australian Shepherd from Ann Arbor, Michigan, was the first dog to undergo open-heart surgery.
According to a recent article on talkinpets.com, Leo was diagnosed with a defective heart valve causing fluid accumulation in his lungs. In the fall of last year, his owners agreed to have the life-saving procedure performed. Veterinary Cardiac surgeon Dr. Augusta Pelosi, at Michigan State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital did the procedure.
According to his owners, Leo is eating well, enjoying moderate exercise, barking at his friends, and on the road to enjoying a full life.
Dr. Pelosi, on staff at the College of Veterinary Medicine, leading a team of more than 20 veterinary and human health experts, has now performed two more successful canine open-heart surgeries. She is one of the few veterinary cardiac surgeons in the world who performs this rare live-saving procedure.
Although this writer feels that using animals for medical research to help people is inhumane, especially with the advent of computer modeling, artificial skin and organs as an alternative. This said, many beloved pets may soon reap the benefits from the development of these major life-saving techniques.
Veterinary medical science designed to eliminate or significantly reduce animals’ pain and suffering is growing. Several innovative veterinary surgical practices in the United States and Europe are now are beginning to offer procedures for dogs, cats and horses, such as stem-cell therapy and total knee and hip replacements.
Additionally many general medical veterinary practices are starting to offer alternative therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine and massage therapy, resulting in a vastly improved quality of life for pets adding many productive years to a beloved animal’s lifespan.
These procedures, often in combination with advanced pain management, eliminate or greatly reduce the anguish and suffering animals experience from crippling arthritis, injuries, congenital deformities, heart conditions and many other serious medical conditions.
Many of these unprecedented procedures remain financially out of reach for pet owners. However several veterinary practitioners have told me that the animal-human bond is finally being recognized as a significant factor to pet insurance companies, which may begin to cover these procedures, even those considered to be experimental.
What is your opinion about these innovative treatment options? Share with a comment.