Mabel’s open heart surgery is world-first

Annabelle Meek, of Thorpe Arnold, with her Labrador, Mabel, who is now on the road to recovery after undergoing ground-breaking open heart surgery at the Royal Veterinary College EMN-160316-135247001

Annabelle Meek, of Thorpe Arnold, with her Labrador, Mabel, who is now on the road to recovery after undergoing ground-breaking open heart surgery at the Royal Veterinary College EMN-160316-135247001

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A Thorpe Arnold woman has paid tribute to the experts who saved her dog Mabel’s life after she underwent ground-breaking open heart surgery at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

Three-and-a-half year-old Labrador Mabel’s recent surgery was a world-first, using cutting-edge technology to reverse her heart failure.

Professor Dan Brockman with Mabel after her ground-breaking open heart surgery EMN-160316-135558001

Professor Dan Brockman with Mabel after her ground-breaking open heart surgery EMN-160316-135558001

Mabel’s rare, life-threatening congenital condition, which caused fluid to build up in her abdomen, needed urgent medical attention.

But now she’s on the road to recovery and enjoying a new lease of life at home with thankful owner Annabelle Meek after her risky, ground-breaking operation proved a success.

Annabelle paid tribute to the incredible work of Dan Brockman, professor of small animal surgery, who carried out the life-saving surgery at the Hertfordshire-based Queen Mother Hospital for Animals and the team of RVC specialists who provided Mabel with pre and post-operative care.

She has also thanked Charlotte Aston, of Melton Vets, who was instrumental in helping to gets things moving for Mabel after noticing she had a raised heart rate, swollen belly and slower than usual walk.

Speaking two weeks after Mabel’s operation, Annabelle said: “It has been a worrying time but she’s doing well now on her road to recovery.

“I would like to thank absolutely everybody. It’s been an enormous team effort on all sides. Every single person I met at the RVC, from the man on the gate to all the hospital staff, was so friendly.

“After Mabel came home professor Brockman phoned me every day to see how she was doing. The RVC should be very proud of what they have done for Mabel.”

Annabelle added: “My vet in Melton, Charlotte Aston, was excellent and instrumental in helping to get things moving for Mabel.

“Mabel has never had a heart murmur but Charlotte noticed she had a raised heart rate and wanted to know why. “She took it very seriously and couldn’t have been nicer.”

Charlotte, who is a partner at Melton Vets and one of their veterinary surgeons, noticed Mabel’s heart rate was twice what it normally was for her, her belly was swollen and she was getting really slow in her walk.

She referred Mabel to the Pride Veterinary Centre in Derby where she spent two days while tests were carried out, including an ultrasound scan of her heart.

She was then referred to cardiology specialists at the RVC’s small animal referral hospital.

Commenting on the risks involved with Mabel’s procedure professor Brockman said: “The operation is risky. In our hands, for this type of disease, we have about an 80 per cent chance of getting them through the procedure. The owner has to gamble what life the dog has left against the promise of a more normal quality of life and life-span following the operation.”

Students at the RVC were also involved in Mabel’s initial examinations which included cardiac ultrasound using a new state-of-the-art ultrasound scanner, partly funded by the RVC’s charity, the Animal Care Trust.

A RVC spokeswoman added: “The ground-breaking success of Mabel’s operation puts the RVC at the forefront of cardiac surgery and this will set a strong precedent for future cases across the UK, Europe and beyond.”

Annabelle, who has another Labrador, Murphy, said the cost of Mabel’s operation and other investigations she underwent were covered by her insurance company.

Her Melton vet, Charlotte Aston, said: “I’m just thrilled Mabel seems to be getting better.

“She’s a lovely dog and Annabelle is a lovely owner. She has done it all for Mabel.”