"It turned out that Clark had a condition called pectus excavatum, also known as “funnel chest.” In this disease, the breast bone and the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breast bone is deformed, which makes the chest narrow and pushes the breast bone into vital organs. Clark’s case was very severe; his misshapen rib cage was pressing on his heart and lungs, making it difficult for him to breathe and putting an incredible strain on his heart.
In pectus excavatum, the breastbone is deformed and puts pressure on the heart and lungs. Photo courtesy of Vet Surgery Central Last Chance’s vets knew Clark would die if they didn’t do something to relieve the pressure that his deformity was putting on his internal organs. If his pectus excavatum had been mild, they could have used physical therapy to coax his rib cage into the proper shape. But due to the severity of his condition, the only option was surgery, and it had to happen soon."