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Narvana’s New Life

Mar 13, 2024

After a successful open chest surgery, Narvana is no longer held back by the congenital abnormality that kept her from eating normally.

At just 10 months old, Narvana was a parvovirus suspect at CACC because she couldn’t keep any food down. 

We brought her to the PAWS Chicago Medical Center & Lurie Clinic for testing, and while, thankfully, she didn’t have parvo, what she was facing was just as life-threatening. Through advanced medical testing, our veterinarians diagnosed Narvana with a congenital heart defect blocking food from moving through her esophagus.  

This heart defect is known as a Persistent Right Aortic Arch (PRAA), where a piece of tissue forms a tight band around the esophagus. The great news was that Narvana’s condition could be surgically repaired, and she was already in the right place to get that surgery! 

First, Narvana needed to gain crucial weight to prepare for surgery. We hand-fed her a liquid food slurry and used a Bailey chair, which kept her upright during feeding, to help the food pass through to her stomach. She then had to sit upright for 15 minutes afterward to make sure the food wouldn’t come back up. Since she wasn’t a huge fan of the Bailey chair, our caregivers and veterinary technicians would hold her upright in their laps and give her lots of cuddles or bring her to a window to people watch for her 15-minute wait. This, she was very much a fan of.  

On January 18, PAWS Chicago surgeon Dr. Jennifer Nevis and volunteer surgeon Dr. Paula West scrubbed in for the operation, called a thoracotomy, that would allow Narvana to live a normal life! Dr. Nevis and Dr. West opened Narvana’s chest, then located and removed the tissue that was around her esophagus. This was a very delicate procedure due to the number of important nerves in the surrounding area.  

After a successful surgery, Dr. Nevis was right by Narvana’s side to help her start post-operative recovery. Over the following weeks, Narvana was gradually introduced to solid food and eating in a normal position. We’re delighted to say her surgery was effective and she’s just like any other happy, healthy pup now! 

Meet Narvana

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