Heart Surgery for Sophie

Sophie is a young, beautiful Papillion, Pomeranian mix that we rescued from our local shelter. The Humane Society of Richland Co. found her abandoned in a truck in a motel parking lot in the coldest days of February. She and another dog had been there for approximately 11days. They survived by eating garbage left behind in the truck by their previous owner. Even after being starved, cold and frightened, Sophie's ability to immediately shine, love, and bring brightness into the world was evident. She loved everyone she met. Our family adopted Sophie 6 months after the death of our beloved Beagle, who passed at the age of 18.  I was devastated by her loss.  I fell into a deep sadness that touched every part of my life. Time passing didn't seem to soften the pain. I didn't think I would ever stop crying. When I heard about Sophie at the shelter and saw her beautiful face, I knew I had to save her, but in reality, Sophie saved me.  I've been around a lot of dogs in my life, but never have I met a more affectionate dog than Sophie.   She is a gift straight from heaven.  She has a special gift to heal others with her lightness, sweetness, and sparkle. At her initial vet examination, it was quickly discovered that Sophie has a common heart defect called "PDA"  that requires a "simple surgery" to improve and prolong her life.   The thought of their being a life-saving surgery for Sophie and not doing it because of money is killing me. I've experienced two dogs passing away from congested heart failure because it was too late to do anything once we learned their condition, but not this time with Sophie. We know what to do, and there's still time to do it, and it will improve her heart function and prolong her life. Here is a copy straight from the medical paperwork explaining Sophie's condition and the simple surgery in which Sophie would benefit:  Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) - This is a congenital condition, meaning that it has been present since birth.  The ductus arteriosus is a vessel that is open normally during fetal development, but shortly after birth, this vessel should close.  PDA refers to the lack of closure of the ductus arteriosus following birth.  The open channel allows for additional blood flow through the lungs and left side of the heart.  In rare circumstances, the excessive blood through the lungs can lead to vascular damage that results in pulmonary hypertension (an elevated blood pressure in the vessels leading to the lungs).  The overloaded left side of the heart can begin to dilate and fail, leading to arrhythmias (disturbances in heart rhythm) and left-sided congestive heart failure (CHF).  Arrhythmias can cause collapse or episodic weakness or disorientation, while signs of left-sided CHF, which is the accumulation of fluid within the lungs due to heart disease, include coughing, respiratory difficulties, exercise intolerance, and collapse.  If pulmonary hypertension is present, right-sided CHF (the accumulation of fluid within the abdomen or around the lungs) can develop and cause abdominal distention or respiratory difficulties.  In the rare instance of severe pulmonary hypertension, flow across the PDA reverses, leading to hypoxemia (low arterial oxygen content) and eventual polycythemia (excessive red blood cells).  Reversed PDAs cannot be closed, but the polycythemia can be managed chronically.  Two main options for PDA therapy are available:  surgical ligation via thoracotomy or minimally-invasive transcatheter occlusion.  Currently, transcatheter occlusion is available using the first cardiovascular device designed specifically for the dog, the Amplatz Canine Duct Occluder.  This device is the first of its kind to use the most advanced technology available for cardiovascular devices and is placed into the PDA through a small incision in the inner thigh.  In clinical studies, this has proved highly effective in occluding PDAs and is now the treatment of choice for this problem. We have started a medication to help with heart muscle function and a diuretic to help treat equivocal congestive heart failure. Sophie is scheduled for PDA occlusion on August 21st. Please consider donating if you have the means so Sophie can have this life-saving surgery, and please add us to your prayers.  Your donation is hugely appreciated.   I know Sophie would give you a big sloppy kiss at this point for taking the time to read about her.  xoxo Thank you!


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Sheila Dickson 
Mansfield, OH
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