A 16mm-wide vascular plug for dogs, made from a nickel-and-titanium alloy
From the looks of it, Dabo appears okay. He has the run of the examination room -- panting, pacing, and sniffing all corners until veterinarian Don Schrope and his five assistants lift the young German shepherd onto the table and ready him for heart surgery. Dabo suffers from patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which means the flaps controlling the blood flow from a major artery (the ductus arteriosus) stay open (patent), causing poorly oxygenated blood to flow back through the heart. Deprived of oxygen, the heart weakens. PDA is the most common congenital heart disease in dogs; a large PDA left untreated usually ends in heart failure. But Dabo is in luck. For about $4,000, Schrope and his team at Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, N.J., are going to make a small cut near Dabo's groin, push a wire through his artery, and deploy a finely stitched disk of nickel titanium next to the big dog's heart. The mesh will cause clotting, then scarring, and the PDA will be no more. The device is called a canine duct occluder (similar to the plug pictured above). It is one of about 20 products manufactured by Infiniti Medical, a company based in Menlo Park, Calif., that makes nothing but medical devices for animals.