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Chulalongkorn’s Vets Successfully Repair Mitral Valve Regurgitation in Dogs with Innovation – First Case in Southeast Asia and Thailand

Repair Mitral Valve Regurgitation in Dogs

Mitral Valve Regurgitation or Degenerative Mitral Valve Disease is the most common heart disease in dogs at around 70-80%, mostly in older dogs, especially small and medium-sized breeds, and is mainly treated with medication. 

Degenerative Mitral Valve Disease

Currently, advances have been made in treating mitral valve regurgitation by surgically repairing the valve with a mitral clamp. A team of veterinarians led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anusak Kijtawornrat, Department of Physiology, Chulalongkorn’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, along with 6 veterinarians from Monster Care Animal Hospital, Motivet Animal Hospital, and Bangkok Heart Animal Hospital successfully performed surgery on a dog using said method for the first time in Thailand on January 8, 2024, and again on January 9, 2024. This surgical method leaves a small wound, with no need for an artificial heart or lung machine, resulting in a quick recovery for the dog and lower costs. In addition, the dog’s heart will be reconditioned, and help delay the progression of heart failure and death. The mitral clamp operation has been performed in many countries including the USA, European countries, China, Japan, and South Korea. Initially, it was used in humans before being adapted to be used in animals. However, this method had never been performed in Thailand or Southeast Asia before.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anusak Kijtawornrat
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anusak Kijtawornrat

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anusak Kijtawornrat, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Director of Chulalongkorn University Laboratory Animal Center, revealed that mitral valve regurgitation in dogs is more common as dogs age, and it is divided into asymptomatic and symptomatic stages. Dogs with this disease show symptoms of fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, and, at a severe stage, pulmonary edema, heart failure, and death. Heart valve regurgitation causes blood to flow backward from the left ventricle up to the left atrium. If left untreated, it will cause blood to flow back to the lungs, resulting in pulmonary edema. Surgical valve repair using a mitral clamp can be performed in dog breeds, most of which are small or medium-sized breeds, that are prone to disease, such as Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, etc. An open-chest surgery in dogs requires cooperation among various team members.

team members of open-chest surgery in dogs
Team members of open-chest surgery in dogs

Dog owners interested in having this procedure done to treat their dog with mitral valve regurgitation can bring their dog in for an examination to check for compatibility with the method at Chulalongkorn Small Animal Hospital or Monster Care Animal Hospital, Motivet Animal Hospital, and Bangkok Heart Animal Hospital.

Repair Mitral Valve Regurgitation in Dogs
Repair Mitral Valve Regurgitation in Dogs

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anusak leaves a suggestion on how to care for and monitor dogs with mitral valve regurgitation and heart disease. If symptoms are found in an early stage, such as your dog is uncharacteristically easily tired or coughs, early detection before pulmonary edema can fully cure the dog whether by medication or surgery.

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Rossukhon Kongket Alumni, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University

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