Though open heart surgeries are common among humans, a three-year-old dog has become the first animal to undergo the operation in the UK.
Labrador Mabel was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called congenital tricuspid dysplasia, where the tricuspid valve was fused in the middle leaving only two small holes for blood flow.
The dog owner, Annabelle Meek referred her dog to specialists at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), as Mabel suffered from fatigue and breathing difficulties.
Surgeons drained blood out of the central veins of the dog's body before it entered the heart and then returned to a major artery once it had been oxygenated by the heart-lung machine. Vets then injected a solution with a high potassium content into the arteries that go to the muscle of the heart. This fluid helped doctors to open the heart and inspect its structures.
Doctors cut the fused ventricles and stitched it back properly so that blood flow will be normal. The operation has become a success as Mabel has recovered well after spending six days in the intensive care unit.
Professor Brockman said, "The operation itself is risky, much worse than most other operations. In our hands, for this type of disease, we have about an 80 percent chance of getting them through the procedure. The owner has to gamble what life the dog has left against the promise of a more normal quality of life and life-span following the operation."