Nearly 8 million dogs in the United States have heart disease. Of those, nearly 75 percent suffer from degenerative mitral valve disease. Medical management can slow its progression, sometimes for years. But once the heart begins to fail, most dogs don’t have long to live.
Now, some dogs with mitral valve disease might have a much better shot. That’s because Dr. Masami Uechi, a world-renowned veterinary cardiologist, has perfected open-heart surgery to repair damaged mitral valves in dogs.
Until recently, canine mitral valve repair has been performed only in clinics in Japan, France and Singapore. But this year, Dr. Uechi begins a collaboration with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine to launch an open-heart surgery program for dogs — the first of its kind in the United States.
Who says you can’t mend a broken heart?