Labrador survives ground-breaking surgery at Potters Bar college

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 March 2016

Mabel and Annabelle Meek

Mabel and Annabelle Meek


A dog has survived ground-breaking open heart surgery at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) near Potters Bar.

Mabel and Dan BrockmanMabel and Dan Brockman

Mabel, a three-year-old Labrador from Melton, Leicestershire, is recovering following the surgery, which was a world first and used cutting-edge technology to reverse her heart failure.

Cardiology specialists from the RVC’s small animal referral unit treated Mabel after she became increasingly tired after exercise and struggled to keep up with the other dog in her family.

Mabel suffered from congenital tricuspid dysplasia, which fused her tricuspid valve in the middle and left her with only two small holes for the blood to flow through.

She developed heart failure and fluid built up in her abdomen, a life-threatening condition which required urgent medical attention.

Dan Brockman, professor of small animal surgery at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, performed the surgery assisted by a team of RVC specialists to provide care before and after the operation.

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% 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.”

Students at the RVC were also able to learn from Mabel’s initial examinations, which used a new, state-of-the-art ultrasound scanner partly funded by the RVC’s charity, the Animal Care Trust.

Mabel’s owner, Annabelle Meek, speaking two weeks after the operation, said: “I would like to thank absolutely everybody. It’s been an enormous team effort on all sides.

“Every single person I met at the RVC, from the man on the gate to all the hospital staff, was so friendly. After she came home Dan Brockman phoned me every day to see how she was doing.

“The RVC should be very proud of what they have done for Mabel.”

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