LIKE his name cute Warwickshire cocker spaniel puppy Maverick is a one-off – after coming through intricate keyhole heart surgery at a Solihull animal hospital.
The plucky puppy was back on his feet just an hour after his operation at one of the few vets’ clinics in the UK able to perform such a pioneering procedure.
Head of cardiology Chris Linney, who runs the UK’s first specialist-led congenital heart disease clinic for young dogs and cats at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Shirley, undertook the surgery to repair an abnormal valve in Maverick’s heart.
Maverick’s relieved Warwickshire owner Sophie Rapson, who lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, said: “We really can’t thank Willows enough for everything that Chris and the team have done for us.
“We never thought for one minute we would still have Maverick with us today after his alarming eight-week puppy check-up.
“The whole family is very grateful, especially the children who are super happy to have Maverick back with us.
“You would certainly never think he has had any surgery or a heart problem at all as he is such a happy, bouncy puppy. He truly is a little fighter.”
The desperately ill puppy was just weeks old when he had the heart surgery. His condition, known as pulmonary valve stenosis, prevents blood flowing through the heart correctly, putting it under enormous strain.
Veterinary heart specialist Chris said: “It really was a whole team effort – from our reception team to our dedicated Cardiology nursing team providing round the clock care and support alongside our world-leading specialist vets.
“With some of the latest and most advance equipment available in the veterinary world our specialist team provides a unique and bespoke level of care for patients with heart conditions.”
This month, Willows’ specialist cardiology team celebrates its five-year anniversary, having established a reputation for excellence performing the largest number of cardiac produces in the UK. The clinic aims to react to heart conditions and murmurs in young puppies and kittens as soon as possible, just as they did with Maverick.
Chris said: “Often, the earlier these procedures are performed the better the outlook for the patient.
“Young puppies with congenital heart conditions like Maverick tend to do very well after surgery and his outlook for the future is now great. He will be able to enjoy life normally as he gets older.
“Early intervention is key and so, if your puppy or kitten has been diagnosed with a heart murmur or heart abnormality, we recommend that you speak to your vet about getting the condition investigated as quickly as possible, as often life-saving surgery may be available.”