University of Florida offering state-of-the-art open heart surgery for dogs


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    Your furry friend, whether big or small, is part of the family.

    But according to the University of Florida Veterinary Hospital, almost 7 million dogs have degenerative mitral valve disease.

    “Many get this disease relatively young, and they die from this disease relatively young,” says Simon Swift, Medical Director of Cardiology at the University of Florida Veterinary Hospital.

    This heart condition first starts off with a heart murmur—but can develop and lead to heart failure.

    “It can occur with any breed but it is much more common with small breed dogs, why? we don’t know,” says Swift.

    This common disease doesn’t have a common fix.

    Using drugs isn’t enough to stop the disease, and no clinic in the country has been able to successfully cure it.

    Except for one group, 1,000 miles away in Yokohama Japan, where they have developed the only successful surgery with a 90% success rate.

    And that group, will now be in Gainesville training UF surgeons, making the University of Florida the only group in the country able to cure this disease.

    “As a cardiologist, it is the most common disease we deal with,” says Swift. “It’s probably three quarters of the disease you see in practice.”

    This surgery is set to start in April, with over 80 dogs on the waiting list.

    This surgery is expected to come at a hefty $42,000 cost for the dog owner.

    But doctors say this is just one step forward on making this surgery available in the States.

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