A veterinary cardiologist has gone a little way to repaying the heart surgeon who helped save the life of his infant son by helping to resolve a potentially life-threatening heart condition in the surgeon’s French bulldog puppy.

Luca Ferasin, clinical director at Lumbry Park Veterinary Specialists in Alton, Hampshire, met Caner Salih when his second son, Mattia, was born with multiple severe and life-threatening congenital heart defects.

Luca Ferasin (right) and Caner Salih with Mattia and Büdu.
Luca Ferasin (right) and Caner Salih with Mattia and Büdu.

Mattia successfully underwent more than seven hours of open-heart surgery at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital when he was six days old. During this time, Dr Ferasin and his wife Heidi got to know Dr Salih, a consultant paediatric cardiac surgeon and member of the team caring for Mattia.


Several weeks after Mattia’s surgery, Dr Salih acquired a French bulldog puppy called Büdu and became concerned when a heart murmur was detected during his first vet visit. He asked Dr Ferasin to assess Büdu, who quickly diagnosed the dog with a congenital heart condition, perimembranous ventricular septal defect (VSD).

Ironically, a large VSD was one of the multiple heart defects corrected during Mattia’s life-saving cardiac surgery.


Dr Ferasin and his team were also able to successfully intervene in Büdu’s condition and, as a result of the cooperation, Lumbry Park Veterinary Specialists, part of the CVS group, has announced a partnership with Evelina London Children’s Hospital to promote the concept of one health.

Dr Ferasin said: “The related stories of Mattia and Büdu highlight the remarkable similarities between paediatric and small animal medicine, not only in terms of medical conditions, diagnostic techniques and therapeutic procedures, but also in terms of the psychological, emotional and social importance of the human-animal bond – in both directions.

“Our partnership with Evelina London Children’s Hospital will celebrate these similarities and promote the concept of one health in a bid to advance both human and veterinary medicine.”

Shared learning

Dr Salih added: “Many people do not appreciate the amount of shared learning that has, for decades, occurred between the study of animals and medicine.

“Many of the advances in areas of human health care we embrace today simply could not exist without this relationship – and open-heart surgery is one. Evelina London is delighted to be collaborating with Lumbry Park on this exciting venture.”

  • Read the full story in the 20 February issue of Veterinary Times.
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