Dog recovering after undergoing first-ever surgery at Colorado State

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A 7-year-old dog from California became the first dog to undergo a transcatheter aortic valve replacement surgery. The dog, Sabbath, was taken to Colorado State University. The university’s veterinary program teamed up with cardiologists at UCHealth to perform the four-hour operation.

“He’s almost human size, which makes things a little bit easier,” said Dr. Brian Scansen of CSU. “In people, this procedure is quite a low risk.”

Sabbath was diagnosed with a blood infection which spread to his aortic valve, triggering heart failure, doctors say. The TAVR operation required doctors to replace his aortic valve through an artery in his leg.

“He was a model patient throughout,” Scansen said.

Several supplies were donated for the operation estimated to cost $16,000, the university says. Sabbath was observed at the hospital for several days and is recovering well, Scansen says. He hopes the operation could help large dogs in the future.

“He’s a big dog, so he’s big enough for us to be able to deliver it through his leg,” Scansen said, explaining that the same surgery would be more challenging with smaller dogs. “The goal is to push the boundaries of what we are able to offer our four-legged patients, much like is what is offered to the two-legged ones.”

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