CSU vets give bucket list puppy another chance at life

Charlotte Lang

What’s better than checking “get 100 hugs” off of your bucket list? Getting a second chance at life.

Logan, a foster puppy diagnosed with pulmonic valve dysplasia, is coming to Colorado State University where the Veterinary Teaching Hospital believes they may be able to perform a surgery to repair Logan’s heart.

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Logan became a viral story after Rescued Hearts Northwest posted their hopes of allowing him to “experience anything and everything a puppy would ever want to experience”, thus creating a bucket list for the puppy. 

After receiving one preliminary procedure that didn’t go as expected, Logan will be returning in April for another surgery to try and save his life. 

Associate professor of cardiology Brian Scansen reached out to Rescued Hearts Northwest after families of patients he had treated reached out to him with links to Logan’s story and questions about if there was anything he thought could be done to help the dog.

“I contacted the rescue via email and asked to review (Logan’s) medical records,” Scansen said. “Following that, I discussed his case with them via phone and suggested there may be treatment options available based on what I could determine from their records.”

Scansen said that Logan has a severely malformed heart. The right side of his heart has two valves that formed abnormally— the pulmonary valve and the tricuspid. The more severe of the two, the tricuspid valve, will require open-heart surgery to repair.

“As open-heart surgery carries moderate risk and is better performed when the dog is closer to full size, we hoped to address the pulmonary valve by a catheterization procedure and wait a few months before open-heart surgery,” Scansen said.

We are the only center doing open-heart surgery for dogs in North America.”

Chris Orton, cardiothoracic surgeon

During this procedure, it was discovered that a major vein in Logan’s chest was missing, which complicated the pulmonary valve intervention, Scansen said.

“We stopped the procedure and woke him up. He recovered fine and went back home,” Scansen said. “The plan is to have him come back in April for the open-heart repair and we will address the pulmonary valve at the same time.”

Chris Orton, the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgeon, said that Logan’s condition causes the tricuspid valve in the heart to not be able to close properly which in turn allows blood to flow backward when the heart contracts. Orton said this causes heart failure and death within the first couple of years of life if left untreated.

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“The surgery will be open-heart surgery to repair the valve and decrease the amount of valve leak,” Orton said. “The surgery is done on a heart-lung machine and takes about four to five hours to perform.”

Orton said he’ll be taking care of Logan and performing the open-heart surgery when Logan returns. He’s been doing open-heart surgery on dogs since 1991.

“We are the only center doing open-heart surgery for dogs in North America,” Orton said. “Tricuspid valve repair is a more recent surgery that we have only been doing for about three years.”

Scansen said that Orton performs one to two open-heart surgeries per month, with the majority of these for the last two years, have been for tricuspid valve dysplasia. They also see about 25 dogs per year with pulmonary valve dysplasia and balloon dilate them routinely.

Judy Cobb, secretary for Rescued Hearts Northwest, said that Scansen has been understanding and helpful in working with them. She said he came recommended to them by someone who is acquainted with his work. That person told Scansen about Logan which prompted Scansen to reach out.

“Scansen is an amazing veterinarian and cardiologist,” Cobb said. “(He) has been extremely compassionate and knowledge with regard to Logan’s condition. He explained in great detail what is wrong with Logan’s heart and what he would be doing to attempt to fix it.”

There is currently a GoFundMe page to help pay for the costs of over $60,000 for his trip to Colorado and for his surgery. Logan plans to return in April.

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.