Gravely-ill three-month-old Siamese kitten, Arthur, undergoes life-saving heart surgery

A gravely-ill Siamese kitten who was suffering from heart failure at only 12 weeks old has made a full recovery after life-saving specialist care at a Wakefield small animal hospital.

By Leanne Clarke
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 12:22 pm

Three-month-old Arthur was in very poor health when he was referred to Linnaeus-owned Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield, but now he’s back home happily climbing the curtains after the successful operation.

Paragon’s head of surgery Mickey Tivers and head of cardiology Chris Linney combined to perform complex surgery to successfully treat his patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a congenital heart defect.

A PDA is relatively uncommon in cats, affecting around one in 5,000, but can prove fatal if left untreated.

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At only 12 weeks old, Arthur was already in early congestive heart failure.

Paragon veterinary nurse Maddie Enderby, who’s the feline advocate at the gold-standard accredited cat-friendly clinic, said: “Arthur was referred to the hospital after a grade five heart murmur was found when he went for his first vaccination at a primary care clinic.

“He was referred to Paragon where we carried out an echocardiogram which revealed a left-to-right shunting patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

“This occurs when the arterial shunt between the pulmonary artery and the aorta fails to close after birth which prevents blood from circulating properly around the body.”

Chris said : “Alarmingly, in Arthur’s case, the left ventricle was already the same size as an adult cat and the left atrium was twice the size meaning that, at only 12 weeks old, he was already in early congestive heart failure.

Arthur has even more energy than before after his surgery.

“His prognosis without surgery was grave so we elected to operate as soon as possible before irreversible heart damage occurred, or worse.”

Mickey performed a thoracotomy, where an incision is made through the ribs and directly into the chest to access the heart, allowing the faulty vessel to be closed permanently.

“Arthur recovered amazingly well from his surgery and he was discharged from the hospital 36 hours later. He had a further ultrasound scan one month after the surgery which showed the PDA remained closed and the heart failure was resolving,” added Chris.

“His owners report he is very happy at home, with even more energy than before, and he’s regularly trying to climb the curtains.”