Heart disease is the number one killer of humans. More people die from heart disease – both men and women – than any other disease, including cancer. Unfortunately, dogs can suffer from heart disease too. There are various breeds that are prone to developing heart conditions either at birth or later in life. Even if they’re not genetically predisposed to it, any dog can develop a heart condition. While we’ve gotten fairly good at treating humans with heart disease, the same can’t be said for our four-legged friends.
The veterinarians and students at Colorado State University are looking to change that. Colorado State U is pioneering new technology to treat heart disease in dogs and it is the only place in North America that studies the issue of canine heart disease and treatments for the condition.
In a recent interview with Today.com, we received a first-hand look at the Colorado State’s Operating Room. Most would be surprised to find it just as advanced as any of the finest university hospitals found anywhere in the country.
Much of the technology used to treat these dogs can be found at work addressing humans, but Colorado U is also working on new technologies made specifically for dogs. High tech imaging machinery can be found here taking snapshots of hearts that can sometimes be no larger than a golf ball. While veterinarians make heart shunts and perform valve repairs, it is done in the least medically invasive way possible.
One patient was Misty, a Great Pyrenees mix that had a hole in her heart. Doctors were able to diagnose and repair that hole, and within weeks of the surgery, it was like she was a new dog.
Vets at Colorado State are hoping that the technology they develop will eventually find its way to clinics around the country. Not only that, some of the technology tested on dogs may one day find its way to a human hospital, making lives better for both people and canines alike.
Don’t think we’re just limiting these treatments to dogs. Cats can also get heart disease, and the same technology that works on dog hearts can also be applied to felines too. It's a win-win!