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Hope for Canine Hearts: First Open-Heart Program Launches

Responsible for 75% of all canine heart disease, dogs with this condition typically have significantly shortened lifespans.

mitral valve repair procedure in dogs

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • A first-of-its-kind open-heart surgery program for dogs recently launched at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine; the program is the only one in the U.S. dedicated to the repair of mitral valve disease (MVD)
  • Mitral valve disease is more common in dogs than cats, is often seen in small breeds, and is responsible for 75% of all heart disease in dogs; the condition is typically managed with medications, and dogs with severe disease have significantly shortened lifespans
  • The open-heart repair procedure now being performed at UF allows most dogs to stop taking medication; lifespan after surgery depends on several factors, including the dog’s age and other conditions
  • At this early stage, the cost of the surgery may be prohibitive for many pet parents; hopefully, as the program expands, the cost will decline over time
  • A proactive approach to treating MVD in dogs includes high doses of the supplement ubiquinol, along with a species-specific, meat-based diet

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