The odds were against Taylor, a seven-month-old German shepherd/Doberman cross.
The puppy was in a shelter and facing an uncertain future. Born with a rare congenital heart defect, Taylor was left abandoned at the Whistler shelter already infested with intestinal parasites. He was also malnourished.
To fix his heart, the cost would have been about $24,000 and it seemed certain that Taylor would be euthanized.
But that’s when experts at Canada West Veterinary Specialists stepped in. Their doctors donated their services and a fund that had been set up to help animals in need was also tapped to provide some help.
The amazing folks at the Whistler Animal Shelter also put in money and time to get Taylor better.
The Vancouver Sun newspaper has video of the procedure.
It took just one minute and 40 seconds to do the rare operation–the first time such a procedure was done in British Columbia–after top canine cardiologists in the U.S. were consulted as well as Dr. Marco Margiocco, B.C.’s only animal cardiologist, and determined open-heart surgery was the only way to save Taylor’s life.
Dr. Mike King, a surgeon at Canada West Veterinary Specialists, performed the operation. He said in an interview in the Vancouver Sun that it took about two hours to prepare the dog and the procedure had to be done fast because the blood could only be blocked off for a maximum of two minutes.
It was the first time I’ve ever performed open-heart surgery on an animal, and it went very well.”
King told the CBC that the investment in time and donations appears to have paid off. Taylor is now recovering “extremely well.”
Just hours after the surgery, he was eating and wagging his tail, and the next day he was up and wandering around outside.
“It’s pretty impressive when you see how well dogs recover,” said King. “There’s no way a human would be doing nearly as well after an open-heart surgery. We’re not nearly as tough as they are.”
Taylor was released from the vet’s on Friday. The Whistler animal shelter is still looking for a home for the seven-month-old puppy.
Photo credit: CBC