Bella - Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in College Station, Texas Bella - Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital


For small animal appointments call (979) 845-2351 Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Emergencies accepted 24 hours a day

Bella is a 3-month old French Bulldog who recently visited the Cardiology Service. Bella's referring veterinarian thankfully noticed a heart murmur in the sweet puppy when she was just a few weeks old.

Bella was then diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis (PS), which is characterized by a narrowing of the valve that regulates blood flow from the right side of the heart to the lungs. In Bella's case, like in most PS cases of puppies, there were no signs or symptoms of the problem, until the murmur was found. Unfortunately, if the disease goes untreated the dog would eventually begin to suffer from life-threatening arrhythmias. PS would cause the right side of the heart to begin to fail due to its increased workload, and blood would begin to backup in the vasculature, resulting in conditions such as fluid in the abdomen, chest, and tissues. "If we hadn't come to A&M, Bella would have eventually died, and she seems like such a healthy puppy," says her owner of Waco, TX.

To correct Bella's PS, she underwent a procedure called a balloon valvuloplasty. A small incision was made into her right jugular vein where a special catheter was inserted and advanced to the heart. The catheter has a small balloon around the outside that is inflated by pumping fluid into it using a syringe. As the balloon expands and forces the valve open, it creates a larger hole for blood to pass through and reduces the amount of work the right side of the heart must do in order to pump Bella's blood.

Thankfully this procedure is a permanent fix to the condition, and Bella will presumably go on to lead a healthy life. Bella's family was "so nervous, the stress was so high," until they saw Bella after her procedure acting like a perfectly happy puppy. "It was a miracle that this was caught so early, and I can already tell she's more energetic," says her owner. Bella's family plans to enroll her in agility exercise classes and say that Bella "may go from dying one day to athlete the next!" They give special thanks to Dr. Randolph Winter and his Cardiology team for their help and communication on Bella's case. We hear that Bella won a "Cutest Patient of the Day" award in our Cardiology Service, and we have no doubt of her winnings.

Kelly Jo Eblen