Cardiologists at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Solihull have performed a life-saving heart operation on their smallest canine patient – a puppy weighing around the same as a bag of sugar.

At 2.2kg, Teddy is among one of the smallest dogs in the world to undergo cardiac catheterisation.
At 2.2kg, Teddy is among one of the smallest dogs in the world to undergo cardiac catheterisation.

Tiny eight-week-old Staffordshire bull terrier puppy Teddy began to suffer dyspnoea due to heart failure caused by a congenital defect.

The team of cardiologists at Willows regularly perform cardiac catheterisation procedures; however, weighing in at just 2.2kg, Teddy was not only the practice’s smallest patient yet, but among one of the smallest dogs in the world to undergo such treatment.

Serious problem

The team took action after scans showed Teddy’s heart was significantly enlarged, with fluid building up in his lungs and causing major difficulties to his breathing. His condition was due to the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) – a blood vessel that connects two major cardiac arteries – remaining open when it should have closed after birth.

Mike Martin
Mike Martin, specialist veterinary cardiologist at Willows, who led the operation.

The intricate closure operation required a 1cm incision and involved passing catheters via an artery in the hind leg and delicately plugging the PDA. The whole procedure, including anaesthetic, took about 90 minutes to complete.

Specialist veterinary cardiologist Mike Martin, who led the operation, said: “Teddy was already suffering heart failure, with severe heart enlargement. He was not going to survive another week without the PDA being plugged. We’ve gained a lot of experience over the years and we’re pushing the boundaries as best we can.”

On the mend

Mr Martin said the procedure went according to plan and Teddy was up and running the same afternoon.

He added: “There was a slight added pressure to the procedure, in that maybe he would be too small, but we made his owners aware of the fact it may not be successful and he might need traditional surgery. He’d been prepped and was ready for that, if needed.

“A lot of little dogs suffer from heart problems when they are too small for cardiac catheterisation, but instead have to undergo traditional surgery, so this type of interventional procedure is increasingly important.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of


related content

A study of dog DNA has revealed a genetic mutation linked to flat face shapes, such as those seen in pugs and bulldogs.

2 mins

Nick Marsh welcomes the trend towards greater specialism in veterinary medicine, but champions the importance (and hard work) of "jack of all trades" general practitioners.

14 mins

Veterinary experts, doctors and scientists have come together in a one health coalition to drive the acquisition of knowledge into one of the UK’s most baffling and lethal canine diseases.

4 mins

Heart rate variability is an established risk factor for mortality in both healthy dogs and animals with heart failure, according to a study.

2 mins

Marge Chandler looks at the factors impacting on canine and feline weight gain to help equip VNs with the information they need in battling the pet bulge.

26 mins

Britain’s largest pet insurance firm is reviewing the registration process for its breeder scheme following allegations in a Sunday newspaper.

5 mins