Howie Hansen – Success Story

Eisenhower “Howie” was barely 8 months old when the first signs appeared that something was wrong. In June of 2022, the young lab-mix ballooned rapidly due to ascites, a condition where fluid accumulates in the abdomen and causes swelling. He was struggling to walk and was very lethargic. For a puppy his age, this was alarming for his family who quickly took him in for emergency treatment at a local veterinary clinic.

At the clinic, Howie’s treatment team identified a liver shunt, a defect in which the blood vessels in the abdomen develop abnormally, ultimately preventing the liver from doing its job of processing blood. Unfortunately, given the complex nature of such a condition, the clinic advised they weren’t qualified to treat Howie and referred him the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Once at the hospital, Howie was treated by Dr. Joseph Bartges and the Interventional Radiology care team. “It didn’t hurt that Howie, who’s a bit shy, took to [Dr. Bartges] right away,” says owner, Drew Hansen.

In October, Howie underwent surgery to repair the liver shunt with no complications. “Dr. Bartges’ treatment of Howie was well worth the drives, and priceless — no one can put a cost to hopefully many extra years of play, walks, cuddles, and being the most important member of the family. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dr. Bartges and his team to anyone else, though hopefully we never have to,” shared Drew.

As for Howie today, he enjoys sprinting after tennis balls and whatever else can be thrown from his ever-growing bucket of toys. He recently celebrated his 1st birthday in October, and is as energetic and playful as a one-year old lab-mix puppy can be.

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