• MSPCA: Lab with rare heart disease needs help and a home

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    BOSTON - A purebred pup with a rare heart condition needs donations and a place to call home, the MSPCA says. 

    Hugo was born with a heart problem so rare the MSPCA – Angell Animal Hospital sees only about 5 cases of the condition a year. That’s juxtaposed with the more than 85,000 animal they treat annually. 

    Hugo’s heart condition makes it impossible for him to eat unless he is sitting straight up like a child. 

    The three-month-old pup was surrendered last month by a local breeder who said he couldn’t eat without regurgitating food. 

    The MSPCA is asking for donations to cover the $6,000 cost of the surgery needed fix his heart. It has created a fund for donations.

    Hugo's condition is called Persistent Right Aortic Arch, or PRAA, which means part of his heart is wrapped around his esophagus. The pressure makes eating and drinking almost impossible. 

    “We basically can only feed him when he’s sitting upright like a child because, without the help of gravity, he can’t keep food and water down,” said Anna Rafferty-Fore, associate director of the MSPCA-Angell animal resource and adoption center.  “We’ve also been quite limited in terms of what we can feed him as we have to water everything down and keep him away from dry kibble and even some treats.”

    But with the right treatment, the MSCPA says Hugo will be much better and able to live a nearly normal life for a Labrador. 

    “The truth is he may always need to be somewhat upright when he eats, though the surgery should open up his esophagus to the degree that eating and drinking a wider variety of foods will be much easier for him,” MSPCA’s Dr. Sue Casale explained.   

    Angell officials say they are also looking for an adoptive home for Hugo. 

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