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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Hospital on Forefront of New Treatments

August 13th, 2019

Advanced Cardiology Treatment

The cardiology service at the VTH recently used a new technique to repair the defective heart of a one-year old terrier named Lucy. She was born with an abnormal heart: the right side was subdivided into two chambers by a thin membrane. When she came to OSU with a distended abdomen and no appetite, she was in the early stages of heart failure.

Cardiologist Nicole LeBlanc and cardiology resident Eric Owens performed a minimally invasive procedure where a special balloon was inserted into the right side of Lucy’s heart. The balloon had several microblades bonded to its surface that scored the membrane. Then a traditional balloon was inserted to expand the membrane into the space. Lucy recovered quickly from her surgery and went home the next day.

Cardiologist Nicole LeBlanc and cardiology resident Eric Owens performed a minimally invasive procedure where a special balloon was inserted into the right side of Lucy’s heart. The balloon had several microblades bonded to its surface that scored the membrane. Then a traditional balloon was inserted to expand the membrane into the space. Lucy recovered quickly from her surgery and went home the next day.

A tiny incision was made so a catheter holding a balloon could be inserted into the right side of Lucy’s heart.

Improved Tumor Removal

Did you get it all? It’s a common question asked after tumor removal surgery. Dr. Milan Milovancev is a soft tissue surgeon at the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) whose research focuses on that question.

Dr. Milovancev operates on hundreds of dogs with cancer every year. He has also devoted many years doing research and clinical trials to improve techniques for removing tumors. His studies include subjects like how tumors grow, how to plan tumor surgery, and how to best test for residual cancer cells after surgery.

“I am dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer patients by working to maximize chances of removing all the cancer during surgery, while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible,” he says. “Accurately determining whether or not a surgical procedure has successfully achieved local tumor control [removal of all cancer cells] is paramount,”

Doobie is just one of the many dogs who has benefitted from Dr. Milovancev’s studies. He came to the VTH with a large, malignant tumor growing on his nostril. “Surgery to remove a tumor in this location can be difficult due to proximity to important anatomical structures,” says Milovancev. Doobie size was also a factor – he is a nine-pound Chihuahua. Dr. Milovancev used information gained from several tumor studies to remove Doobie’s tumor and reconstruct his nose. “The microscopic analysis showed that we got all his tumor and there is a low chance of it growing back,” he says. Now Dr. Milovancev is investigating a new method for removing bladder tumors.

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