University of Illinois veterinarian fixes Thai dog’s heart

A 3-year-old Chihuahua from Thailand has undergone surgery at the University of Illinois to correct a congenital heart defect.

Dr. Jordan Vitt, a veterinary cardiologist, told The News-Gazette ( the dog named Nana is recovering at the UI Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Vitt saw Nana for the first time earlier this year when he was mentoring some veterinarians in cardiology at Kasetsart University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Bangkok. She was suffering from patent ductus arteriosus, which typically results in heart failure.

Nana traveled to the U.S. with Dr. Kanokporn Kitvorapong and Dr. Natpreeya Premjaroen. The Thai veterinarians are observing at the hospital through Monday and are learning how to perform the minimally invasive procedure that was done on Nana.

The two visiting vets said they know of other dogs that could benefit from the procedure. They said their hospital doesn’t have a piece of equipment necessary to perform the procedure, but that they hope to be able to offer it in Bangkok in the future.

Nana continues to have an enlarged heart that was secondary to her condition, and she is being monitored in her final week at the hospital. Vitt said he plans to check her again next March when he makes another trip to Thailand.

Vitt said Nana’s owner paid for the trip and part of the heart procedure. The rest was covered by donations.

According to the UI College of Veterinary Medicine, congenital heart disease only affects about 1 percent of small animal patients in North America.