Video: CSU teams up with UCHealth to perform first-in-world surgery on a dog

Video: Jason Russell/CSU

Earlier this year, Colorado State University’s Dr. Brian Scansen collaborated with Dr. Justin Strote from UCHealth to perform a first-ever cardiology procedure on a dog.

They performed a transcatheter aortic valve replacement on Sabbath, a 7-year-old malamute from northern California.

The procedure is often performed in humans and is less invasive than open-heart surgery. Clinicians place a new valve within the diseased aortic valve through a catheter inserted in the patient’s leg. This new valve allows for increased blood flow and helps to lengthen and improve patients’ lives.

One of Sabbath’s heart valves got infected in 2018. His veterinarians in California were able to clear that infection and get him stabilized, said Scansen, assistant professor of cardiology and interventional medicine at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at CSU.

“But he was left with a very diseased, very dysfunctional valve, so that’s what we needed to fix,” he explained.

Thanks to this procedure, Sabbath had a quicker recovery, and he was able to return home sooner than if he had undergone open-heart surgery.

“We were able to fix his diseased valve and give him a much healthier heart,” Scansen said.

Moving forward, Scansen said that he and his team will be able to offer more less-invasive options to treat valve disease in dogs.

“Unfortunately, disease of the heart valve is one of the more common issues we see in the dog,” he said. “We’re working with physicians and industry to try and develop new treatments that allow us to fix these diseased valves and hopefully give dogs a better chance at a long, healthier life. The goal is to continue to push the boundaries of what we can offer to our four-legged patients, much like is what is able to be done for the two-legged ones.”

Watch media coverage of this story from CBS Denver, KCNC-TV, and FOX31 Denver, KDVR-TV.