Help Penny Heal

Help Penny Heal2020-01-23T10:48:01-04:00

Rescued at the Eleventh Hour

Penny is now basking in the love and attention she’s receiving from her new family, Morgan and Mihalis. “Penny is doing great. She’s eating fine and enjoying her walks,” said Morgan. “When the weather is nice she even almost prances along, but she really doesn’t like the rain.”

She’s a “big cuddler” especially on the couch between them. Sometimes, though, she prefers curling up with her special blanket. Penny now has a rubber ball with a rope attached that she likes to roll around. Another favorite toy is a stuffed raccoon that she runs around with in her mouth in the apartment. She’s usually finished racing around and playing in about 15 minutes and then she’s ready to cuddle again. In fact, recently the couple had invited a few friends over to their apartment and Penny was happy to see everyone. She sat on the laps of all six people, one by one!

Next month, Penny will be getting a follow up echocardiogram to make sure that the vessel in her heart has stayed open and clear since she had the surgery for the pulmonary stenosis. Then she will require a checkup every six months to monitor her heart condition plus regular echocardiograms.

Most importantly, Penny now has a loving home of her own who will make sure she gets all the care she needs. You can make more happy adoption stories like this happen for other sick and injured animals with a donation today to our Help Me Heal Program.

It is obvious that Penny feels so much better after her surgery. Her balloon valvuloplasty was a success — it widened the opening in a vessel in her heart so sufficient blood could flow through to the lungs. She prances on her daily walks and has been cleared for further exercise. However, she is not out of the woods yet.

“Penny will need a follow up echocardiogram to make sure the pressure is improved,” said Dr. Mark Verdino, Senior Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff for our Pet Health Centers. “Sometimes the vessel can constrict again and the dog needs more than one surgery because it has to be stretched again.”

It is likely Penny will be on a lifelong medication to help treat her pulmonic stenosis. Penny is scheduled for her next echocardiogram in February. Until then, she’ll be monitored for any signs of weakness, lethargy, exercise intolerance, or difficulty breathing.

Just by looking at Penny’s sweet face, you would have no idea that something was so terribly wrong with this one-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix. She arrived at North Shore Animal League America’s Port Washington, N.Y. campus as part of a rescue from the Georgia Coalition. She came to us without a minute to spare—Penny could have collapsed and died just from too much running and exercise.

“When Penny got here, we realized she had a very severe heart murmur.  An echocardiogram was done by a cardiologist to assess what the murmur was.  She was diagnosed with pulmonic stenosis and this is life threatening with a poor prognosis if left untreated,” said Dr. Kaitlyn Zaino, Staff Veterinarian.  “Basically, there is a very small opening between one of the ventricles of the right heart into the pulmonary artery.  That opening is smaller than it should be, which is causing the murmur.”

Pulmonic stenosis is a hereditary condition that can cause a dog to collapse, have arrhythmias, and even heart failure. Penny is going to need a surgical procedure called a balloon valvuloplasty that is performed by a cardiologist. During the surgery, the veterinarian passes a special catheter through the hole with a balloon that when inflated, widens the opening so blood can flow normally.

Our surgical team contacted a cardiologist immediately and the balloon valvuloplasty that Penny so desperately needs to survive has been scheduled. “In the meantime, Penny cannot run in the dog park and she will be restricted to short, leash walks only as she could get sudden heart failure,” said Dr. Zaino. “After this surgery, Penny will have a much better life and get a new home.”

Penny’s life has barely just begun. The dedicated team inside our Pet Health Centers will do everything it takes to provide her with the chance to live a quality life. But we can’t do it alone.  Your donation today to our Help Me Heal Program will help Penny, and other animals in need of urgent medical attention, get the lifesaving care she needs and compassion she deserves.

Will you help us give Penny her life back and let her know what it’s like to be a beloved pet??