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Veterinary Forum January 2009 (Vol 26, No 1)

Cutting-edge stent done at UFVMC

    GAINESVILLE, Fla.Delilah, a 6-month-old Labrador retriever with a congenital intrahepatic portosystemic liver shunt, was successfully treated at the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center (UFVMC) with a cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedure.

    Because it is so difficult to treat these cases with surgery, the UF team chose to use minimally invasive interventional therapy. The procedure involved placing a wide-bore catheter in the jugular vein, using fluoroscopy to locate the vascular shunt, placing a metal stent in the vena cava and deploying coils to create the occlusion, according to Sarah Carey, director of public relations at UF.

    "People are excited about these new techniques, but few veterinarians have the ability to do them," said Herb Maisenbacher, VMD, a clinical assistant professor of cardiology at the UFVMC. "I would not attempt this unless surgeons or radiologists were there to help me. We all bring different skill sets to the table."

    Although interventional techniques have been used for years in human medicine, their use in veterinary medicine is relatively new. UF cardiologists were trained 3 years ago by interventional veterinary specialist Chick Weisse, VMD, at the University of Pennsylvania, and Delilah gave the UF veterinarians their first opportunity to use their skills.

    "This approach has improved our ability to offer cutting-edge treatment," Maisenbacher said in a UF article. "There are many diseases that can be treated by using these procedures."

    After Delilah's successful treatment, her owner, Robin Fish, mentioned it to a couple whose dog had the same condition — that dog became the second successful recipient of the treatment at UF.

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