The Only Locally-Owned Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Minnesota

Rico’s Story: The First Balloon Valvuloplasty at AERC

At Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota we strive to be a state-of-the-art referral center in order to offer the very best for your pets. Our Cardiology Service has officially opened their Interventional Cath Lab, and our team can now help so many more pets with this new equipment. Dr. Michelle Rose and Dr. Robert George

, our two board-certified cardiologists, successfully performed a balloon valvuloplasty in Rico, a 3-year-old Rat Terrier who is fostered by Rescued Pets are Wonderful. Check out Rico’s story below!

The Diagnosis
Rico was diagnosed with valvular pulmonic stenosis, a severe congenital heart disease. This means one of the valves in the right side of his heart cannot open appropriately – so his heart had to work much harder to pump blood to his lungs. His condition was so severe that his impaired valve was 173 mm Hg (normal is 0; severe is > 80 mm Hg). As such, Rico’s heart had become massively enlarged, and he was at risk for congestive heart failure and sudden death.

The Procedure
Drs. George and Rose placed a balloon dilation catheter into the thickened right side of Rico’s heart, across his abnormal pulmonic valve. They then inflated the balloon. The

balloon catheter caused the valve to become untethered and to open more fully, thus allowing blood to enter Rico’s lungs more easily.

The Outcome
Rico’s postoperative pressure gradient was 72 mm Hg, which is considered an excellent outcome. With the success of this procedure, Rico has a much better chance of living a full and normal life with his new family!

With their Interventional Cath Lab, our cardiologists are now equipped to perform minimally-invasive closure of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), another common congenital heart disease in dogs that can cause congestive heart failure, lung damage, and reduce survival if not corrected. Dogs that have these interventional procedures often go home with only a very small incision or catheter-sized puncture over a neck or leg vessel, sometimes so small that sutures are not needed.

Our Cardiology Service is very excited to be able to help more pets by offering this new procedure. Could your pet benefit from seeing a board-certified veterinary cardiologist? Talk to your family veterinarian about your concerns and ask about a referral to Dr. Michelle Rose or Dr. Robert George!

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