Holly, the eight-month-old pup Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: An eight-month-old Pomeranian puppy has become the first patient to undergo the Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) heart surgery in Dubai, to address a congenital heart defect.

Holly, the lovable and lively pup, will be able to live a long and healthy life, thanks to the timely intervention by a team of veterinary surgeons. The diagnosis and treatment of Holly took place at Modern Vet, which is the first and only multi-speciality veterinary hospital in Dubai with the ability to treat PDA in dogs, as well as a plethora of other conditions. If left untreated, PDA is a death sentence to your loyal companion. It can develop into congestive heart failure, which, in simple terms, means that fluid will begin to fill the lungs.

A team of veterinary surgeons at Modern Vet conducted the complex surgery on May 22. Holly had been suffering from a congenital heart defect in his golf ball- sized heart that had seriously affected her quality of life.

A complex procedure

Explaining the challenging procedure, Dr Jose Botte, a veterinary cardiology specialist who led the surgical team said: “Ductus Arteriosus is the communication between two major vessels leaving the heart: The pulmonary artery and the aorta. The first surgical correction of PDA in human beings was performed in 1938. Less than two decades later, Dr Willis Potts was the first to perform the same surgery on a dog.”

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From left: Dr Farooq Chaudhry, nurse Tatiana, Dr Joao Figueira, Dr Cristina Epifanio, Dr Silverio Moniz, Dr Jose and Sam at Modern Vet. Image Credit: Supplied

Special manual ventilation used

Led by Dr Botte, the surgical team also included Dr Joao Figueira, an orthopaedic and soft tissue surgeon, and Dr Silverio Moniz, a soft tissue specialist surgeon. Dr Cristina Epifanio, a neuro specialist at Modern Vet, took charge of the anaesthesia throughout the two-hour surgery. She had to manually ventilate the patient, a technique that was very crucial to the surgery.

Manual ventilation or Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation (IPPV) is a medical procedure that is predominantly used in complex surgeries, including PDA surgery, as the patient is unable to independently breathe. IPPV is a tricky procedure that requires extreme precision. Dr Epifanio explained: “In the case of our patient, this type of ventilation was necessary because during surgery, as the thorax is open, the pressure exerted on the lungs from the outside is such that they cannot overcome the resistance and ventilate on their own. That is why it is necessary that we do it for them, so that the patient can be oxygenated and perfused throughout the procedure.”

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Doctors express their joy

“Although difficult, this was a very rewarding surgery to perform as it changed the life of the pet completely. She will now have a normal life,” said Dr Moniz

Dr Farooq Chaudhry, who assisted in the procedure throughout, said: “As an emergency veterinarian at Modern Vet, I really feel proud of being a part of this critical surgery. Being an ER vet, I was assisting and monitoring if any critical condition were to happen during surgery."

Dr Figueira remarked: “As the surgeon of this procedure, it was a challenge that I was eager to take on and although this was a complex surgery, I am glad that Holly can now have a great and healthy life.”