Giovanni Di Stadio was unable to find a cure for his pet dog, but the Jupiter resident’s search led to the opening of the North American Veterinary Heart Center, a veterinary hospital that he says provides state-of-the-art care for dogs and cats.
Di Stadio, an interior designer, lost his Shih Tzu Bella about five years ago to heart failure. During his search for care, he met Dr. Augusta Pelosi, a Michigan State University specialist in veterinary cardiology and cardiac surgery. Pelosi and Di Stadio are co-founders of the hospital in the Barcelona Center on the west side of Central Boulevard, just north of Indian Creek Dr.
“I’m an entrepreneur. I’m not afraid to build things from scratch,” said Di Stadio, displaying the new equipment at the center on a recent afternoon. “Dr. Pelosi had a dream of opening a veterinary cardiac hospital. It was a perfect fit,”
The initial $1 million investment in the hospital includes a $250,000 device to measure ultrasounds and a $200,000 machine to be used for heart and lung bypass operations.
The center is not open for emergency care.
“Some cardiac disease is successfully managed with medication. Certain other conditions require surgical intervention, including open-heart surgery,”said Pelosi, who owns two cats and is a certified yoga instructor.
Dogs are big in Jupiter. That’s a big part of the reason the town was selected for the site of the hospital, said Jack Lighton, the executive director of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Lighton volunteers as director of marketing.
Jupiter’s Dog Beach, a two-mile stretch north of Marcinki road, is a popular place for dog owners to let their pooches run free. The town is currently spending $3 million to build a dog park at Cinquez Park on the north side of Indiantown Road, just west of Center Street. The annual Hang 20 Surf Dog Classic, where surfing dogs compete at Carlin Park, is scheduled for the fall.
“Jupiter is a real dog town,” said Lighton, who is married to Di Stadio.
The for-profit hospital, which will eventually employ about 20, plans to seek donations to establish a non-profit foundation to help dog and cat owners pay for care. Operations at the hospital range from about $3,000 for a repair of a heart defect to $40,000 for a heart valve replacement.
Plans call for bringing veterinary residents to pursue their specialty in cardiology or heart surgery to the North American Veterinary Heart Center from the University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University and other nationwide colleges to work at the hospital.
“We’re bringing in the next generation of superstar veterinarians,” Lighton said.