SAN DIEGO — The Helen Woodward Animal Center announced Thursday that an orphaned puppy at the shelter has recovered well after an innovative heart surgery and is expected to be adopted in the coming weeks.
The puppy, named Cowboy, had a high grade heart murmur, which was caused by an improperly formed heart valve. On May 7 at the UC Davis extension in Sorrento Valley, the canine underwent a procedure in which the valve was inflated by using a balloon made specifically for a dog.
“Cowboy’s valve was thicker and harder than expected, causing a few challenges,” said Dr. Joao Orvalho, the cardiologist who performed the surgery. “But overall the surgery went very well and Cowboy’s heart valve is expanding well and decreasing the stricture.”
Cowboy was among a litter of orphaned terrier blend puppies found last October in central California and brought to the shelter, where veterinarians felt a heart arrhythmia in his chest. The condition threatened Cowboy’s life, necessitating the intricate procedure.
Cowboy is currently recovering with one of the shelter’s foster families. He is expected to live out a normal and happy lifespan, but he will require a bi-weekly dose of Atenolol for the rest of his life to prevent future blood pressure and arrhythmia issues. As an incentive to adopt Cowboy, adopters will receive a year’s supply of pet food from Blue Buffalo and a gift package of dog treats and toys from Petco.
“He has such a zest for life and you can see how happy he is to bounce and play without feeling exhausted by it. It touches me that so many people put so much time, effort and care into one puppy,” said Karen Void, Cowboy’s foster. “I can tell you that he is definitely worth it.”
The shelter expects to begin taking applications to adopt Cowboy on June 9. He will also be brought to the shelter’s Spring Fling Gala, scheduled for June 8. Residents with questions about the shelter’s adoption process can contact its Adoption Department at 858-756-4117, ext. 1.