Annie’s Story

11+ years after Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) diagnosis, the most frequently seen congenital defect of dogs, Annie had surgery and continues to be a bundle of joy and energy! 

Annie joined the Rollyson family via a rescue site called K9 Furbabies. Annie, who originally came from a puppy mill in West Virginia, was born with a congenital condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA).  It is a failure of a large blood vessel (ductus arteriosus) to close after birth.  Pets with this defect often die in the first year of life. Without surgery, Annie would probably have died before her second birthday.

On the morning of October 11, 2003, Dan and Eileen, along with their older collie Nikki, met Annie for the first time.  When Annie, like a typical puppy, had finished teasing Nikki, she gently rested her head on the older dog’s foot and closed her eyes. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.  At that point, there was little doubt as to where Annie would be spending the rest of her life!

Annie was taken to CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets and assessed for the surgical procedure by Dr. Bonnie Lefbom, a board certified veterinary cardiologist and her team.  Surgery was performed on December 10th 2003. Dr. Lefbom successfully closed the PDA during the surgery and Annie recovered with lots of TLC from the surgical team at CVCA. She was able to go home to her family the very next day.  The procedure was so successful that Annie was taken off all of her heart medications!

Annie celebrated her second birthday on March 28, 2005.  She was healthy, happy and a bundle of raw energy.  A subsequent follow-up cardiac examination indicated that she was doing very well and could expect to live a normal, active life with a normal life-span.

Annie is certified by Therapy Dogs International and along with her housemate Sugar, visits hospice to give respite to terminally ill patients, their families and caregivers.  The pair also visit area nursing homes where all are particularly impressed that Annie and Sugar take their commands in both English and Spanish.

Annie has a wonderful personality and is loved by all…except, perhaps, for the squirrels in her back yard.  She particularly enjoys herding sheep at the annual Collie Rescue of the Carolinas reunion.  She is also a regular participant at the annual CVCA & Inova Pediatric Heart Picnic, where the animals who have had cardiac surgery at CVCA get together with the children who have had cardiac surgery at INOVA.

Annie is currently 11½ years old and still a bundle of joy and energy. Thanks to K9 Furbabies Rescue, her dedicated family, and her veterinary care team, she continues to live a remarkable, long and healthy life, bringing happiness to many.

To learn more about CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets, visit our website at or our Facebook page at

By Bonnie Lefbom, DVM, Diplomate, ACVIM, (Cardiology) in Collaboration with Dan Rollyson for CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets

Photos Courtesy of Dan Rollyson


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