MSPCA raising money to help fund life-saving surgery for gravely ill puppy with congenital heart condition

BOSTON (WHDH) - The MSPCA-Angell and the Northeast Animal Shelter are turning to the public for assistance raising money to help fund life-saving surgery for a gravely ill puppy that is suffering from a congenital heart condition.

Bradley, a 3-month-old pit bull mix with a heart-shaped nose, recently traveled more than 1,100 miles from rural Georgia to Massachusetts with the hopes of finding a forever home, the MSPCA said in a news release.

When Bradley and 37 other animals relocated to Salem’s NEAS on March 20, no one there knew that his health was in grave condition.

A routine health check revealed a congenital heart condition called Pulmonic Stenosis, a diagnosis that put Bradley at risk of sudden death after just 90 days of life, according to Dr. Lindsey Rynk, of the NEAS.

“His condition is so severe that we had to determine if surgery would even be an option for him,” Rynk said. “None of us were prepared to give up, however, so we turned to the MSPCA-Angell for help.”

Dr. Katie Hogan, of the MSPCA’s cardiology service, has treated at least 60 pups with Pulmonic Stenosis in the past. She believes surgery could prolong Bradley’s life.

“PS is a challenging diagnosis for any dog and without surgical intervention may prove fatal condition within a couple of years, and Bradley’s case is very severe, but we’re hopeful that surgery will save him from immediate danger and prolong his life,” Hogan said.

The MSPCA says Hogan plans to perform a balloon valvuloplasty. During the procedure, Bradley will be anesthetized, and then intravenous catheters will be placed in his jugular vein, with larger catheters and wires passed through the right side of his heart. A balloon will then be passed through his heart and inflated multiple times to open his abnormal valves, after which the value will be removed.

Even after the surgery, Bradley will never be out of the woods, according to Hogan.

“Even if the operation is a success—and we’ll do everything in our power to ensure the best outcome—it is still possible that this condition will shorten Bradley’s lifespan,” Hogan said. “But given all he’s been through, he deserves every chance we can give him, and he’s going to be in very good hands.”

Bradley’s surgery and aftercare are likely to exceed $7,500. The MSPCA and NEAS are now asking that anyone who is able to help offset the cost to make a donation at neas.org/bradleysheart.

Hogan noted that most dogs that undergo the procedure are able to be discharged the same day and Bradley might even be able to resume normal activities a few days later.

It’s expected that Bradley will be cleared for adoption after 10 to 15 days.

Rynk added that Bradley’s new owner will need to be “committed to his ongoing cardiology care.”

Should the surgery go well, the MSPCA says it will release more details on the kind of adoptive home he will require.

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