Duke's Story

Duke, a brown dog, sits on an exam table with a veterinarian standing nearby.About a year ago, on April 11, 2011, a team from the College of Veterinary Medicine and University of Minnesota Medical School successfully performed heart surgery for tetralogy of Fallot on Duke, a 2-year-old American Staffordshire terrier, at the Veterinary Medical Center. The palliative procedure, which involved the use of a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt to direct blood flow to the lungs, had been performed on dogs before, but this was the first time it had been done at the Veterinary Medical Center or anywhere else in Minnesota. The surgical team was headed by Richard W. Bianco, associate professor of surgery and director of Experimental Surgical Services at the Medical School and adjunct associate professor of veterinary medicine, and Dr. Vicki Wilke, assistant clinical professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

This past week, the team got a progress report from Duke's owners: Duke is doing great.

"Duke’s exercise tolerance is still excellent; he can now walk (probably) indefinitely; I know that I get tired before he does," wrote Duke's owner. "He (we) enjoys his walks greatly. Every time I go out with him I am reminded of what a gift your operation is to us. He seems to enjoy his life.”

"Thank you all again for your respective roles in the care of our friend. (We) realize how lucky we are to have such a fine facility so close, and such an excellent team to care for our sweet dog."

Read the story about Duke's tetralogy of Fallot surgery

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Have we helped your pet? We'd love to hear from you. Share your VMC story by emailing vmccomm@umn.edu. Don't forget to include a photo of your pet!