Hitchin vets have saved the life of a dog who needed specialist heart surgery that can only be carried out in a handful of places in the world.

Two-year-old Labrador Retriever Bailey was born with a congenital abnormal heart rhythm, which required specialist surgery at Linnaeus-owned Davies Veterinary Specialists, one of only a handful of veterinary centres in the world equipped to carry out such a procedure.

Known as an ablation, the intricate operation uses a special device that burns the diseased area within the heart where electrical signals cause irregular heartbeats.

"Bailey is an absolutely wonderful dog and it’s no wonder he’s much-loved by his family," said Lara Barron, head of cardiology at Davies.

The Comet: Bailey out enjoying the snow.Bailey out enjoying the snow. (Image: Karen Wallace)

"Although he was born with this abnormality and developed signs at such a young age, he never lost his friendly personality despite everything he went through prior to referral.

"Following the successful surgery, Bailey’s heart is performing well and he’s made a full recovery.

"It’s so rewarding to be able give Bailey a new lease on life, and let him get back to being an energetic, young lab."


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The first signs of Bailey’s heart problem were picked up when he was being checked for a separate health issue at an emergency vet.

He was then transferred to a veterinary college where an examination picked up signs his heart rate was severely elevated, racing up to 300 beats per minute.

It was initially hoped medication would control the problem, but after a couple of months it became clear this course of action was not working and Bailey was getting worse.

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Following his succesful surgery, Bailey has been "transformed", according to owner Karen Wallace, who lives near Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

"Bailey is the apple of our eye and we’re so thankful his broken heart has been fixed," she said.

"The standard of care at Davies was amazing and Bailey is now a completely transformed dog! We were so lucky they were able to carry out the procedure – I believe there are only four veterinary centres in the world where they can carry out this operation.

"He has recovered so well from his surgery. He loves running in fields again and playing with other dogs, particularly his brother, which is so wonderful to see."