Auction Dog Nelly Receives Life-Saving Heart Surgery

Auction Dog Nelly Receives Life-Saving Heart Surgery

Update to Nelly’s story published on Tuesday, February 13

Shortly after Nelly 18-013 was rescued from a commercial breeding auction, RAGOM learned she suffered from a serious heart condition despite being only 7 1/2 months old. Nelly needed life-saving ablation surgery to allow her heart to beat normally, a procedure so specialized that only two U.S. veterinary clinics offer it.

Once again, the RAGOM community pulled together: generous donors raised the necessary funds, RAGOM volunteers drove Nelly to Ohio and back, and a canine cardiologist specializing in heart arrhythmia found and ablated the troubled pathway in Nelly’s heart.


Dr. Wright, Dr. George and Nelly
Dr. Wright and Dr. George with Nelly prior to her procedure.

Upon arriving in Ohio, RAGOM transport volunteers Scott and Patty B. checked Nelly in to the hospital, and the veterinary staff prepared her for the next day’s surgery. Nelly was fitted with a special EKG jacket, and a veterinary technician monitored her for the entire night.

The next morning doctors attached paddles to her small body in the case her heart stopped—every precaution was taken to keep Nelly safe. The procedure lasted 5 1/2 hours, performed by Dr. Wright and observed by Dr. George, Nelly’s Minnesota cardiologist. The operation was a success, and Nelly is expected to live a full and healthy life.

Monitors during Nelly's ablation procedure
Monitors guide the surgeon during the ablation procedure.
Dr. Wright
Dr. Wright celebrates the successful surgery.
The following day, Scott and Patty checked Nelly out of the hospital and began their journey home, dodging a snowstorm. After spending the night in Chicago, the trio headed for Minnesota, where Nelly was reunited with her foster family, six days after their journey began.
Nelly at hospital room
Nelly before heading home to Minnesota.

The next challenge is keeping Nelly quiet for the another week. Her doctor warned that she will have lots of energy now that her heart is working properly, and Nelly will be ready to play and act like the puppy she is. To us, that sounds like a pretty good problem to have!

Originally posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2018:
Nelly 18-013 was rescued recently from a commercial breeding auction, saved by the love of RAGOM volunteers, donors, and partners. But we’ve since learned she has a damaged heart despite being only 7 1/2 months old. We’ve launched a fundraising campaign to ensure Nelly gets the special surgery she needs.

When Nelly’s foster mom brought her to the vet last week, she was nervous about Nelly’s enlarged belly. She’d hoped the news would be simply that Nelly was pregnant; instead she learned that her abdomen was filled with fluid due to Right-Sided Heart Failure. Nelly’s sweet heart was racing at 300 beats per minute—she was lucky to be alive.

Nelly’s heart has an abnormal electrical pathway that doesn’t end where it should. It passes the normal stopping point, and as a result, shocks her heart. The cure is a procedure called ablation that would burn out the electrical hot spot. Although this procedure isn’t very invasive, only two veterinarians in the country offer it. The closest is in Ohio. This procedure would make it possible for Nelly to live a long, healthy life. But the total cost is expected to reach $5,000.

Nelly from RAGOM

With your support, a volunteer will drive Nelly to Ohio where she will receive the ablation surgery.