Gravely Ill Homeless Puppy Needs “Moonshot” Surgery for a Chance at Survival
Northeast Animal Shelter Pulling out All the Stops, Raising Funds to Save Adorable Georgia Transplant, “Bradley”
SALEM and Boston, Mass., April 7, 2021 – In many ways, three-month-old Pit Bull mix puppy “Bradley” has come so far—traveling more than 1,100 miles from rural Georgia to Massachusetts, and the promise of a new and loving home—but his most dangerous journey is still ahead of him.
Little did anyone know that Bradley—the shy, playful pup with a heart-shaped nose, relocated to Salem’s Northeast Animal Shelter (NEAS) with 37 other dogs and cats on March 20th—was gravely ill.
A health check performed upon arrival at NEAS revealed a congenital heart condition called Pulmonic Stenosis (PS), a grave diagnosis that put Bradley at risk of sudden death after just 90 days of life. For the NEAS team, the discovery was devastating.
“His condition is so severe that we had to determine if surgery would even be an option for him,” said Dr. Lindsey Rynk of the Northeast Animal Shelter. “None of us were prepared to give up, however, so we turned to the MSPCA-Angell for help.”
Angell Animal Medical Center Offers (Guarded) Hope
The NEAS team booked an appointment with Dr. Katie Hogan of Angell’s Cardiology service, who has treated PS at least 60 times in her career—and who made clear that, while surgery may offer Bradley a second chance, there are no guarantees.
“PS is a challenging diagnosis for any dog and without surgical intervention may prove a 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,” said Dr. Hogan.
Armed with this information, the NEAS team decided the risk is worth taking, and Bradley’s surgery is now scheduled for April 13th. Bradley is staying in a foster home with one of Angell’s cardiology nurses until then to ease his stress and provide as normal a life as possible before his operation.
The minimally invasive procedure that Dr. Hogan will perform is called a balloon valvuloplasty. 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.
Dr. Hogan has made clear that even with a successful surgery, Bradley will never be out of the woods. “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,” she 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,” said Dr. Hogan.
Bradley’s surgery and aftercare are likely to exceed $7,500 and NEAS and the MSPCA are asking that anyone able to offset the costs donate at neas.org/bradleysheart.
The Road Ahead
According to Dr. Hogan, most dogs who undergo the procedure are discharged the same day—and her hope is that Bradley will be, too. “Most patients are able to resume normal activities within a few days, and we believe he may be cleared for adoption after 10 to 15 days,” said Dr. Hogan. She added that Bradley will require a checkup at Angell four to six weeks after his surgery.
NEAS and the MSPCA will provide updates on Bradley’s condition, and more details on the kind of adoptive home he will require. “He’s shy and will do best in a quieter home, and we’ll need to ensure his new owner is committed to his ongoing cardiology care,” said Dr. Rynk.”