Puppy gets new lease on life

A Cayman puppy has a new lease on
life thanks to the efforts of Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts and the staff of
Cayman Animal Hospital.

Octavia, a 12-week-old puppy had
been prevented from joining the rest of her litter on a trip to the US as part
of a puppy transfer when a veterinary checkup before the trip revealed a heart
murmur. The condition would also have made it difficult for the puppy to find a
home in Cayman.

According to Dr. Colin Manson at
the Cayman Animal Hospital, the volunteers at CARE asked the hospital to
examine the puppy in the hope of finding the cause of the murmur.

“Following a detailed clinical
exam, X-rays and an ultrasound exam, we identified the cause of the heart murmur
to be a congenital heart condition called a ‘Patent Ductus Arteriosus’,” he
said.

Although such heart conditions are
relatively rare, Dr. Manson said that PDA is one of the more common forms. It
results from a blood vessel that should close just after birth, but in this
case it remained open, shunting blood from one side of the heart to the other.

“This resulted in Octavia
developing signs for heart failure at such a young age. Sadly there is an 80
per cent chance that most puppies with a PDA will die before one year old.
However, since the X-rays were already demonstrating signs of lung congestion,
Octavia’s life-span was likely to be only a few short months,” he said.

The surgery is not without risk,
however.

“It involves very careful
dissection around this relatively fragile blood vessel, which is intimately connected
to two of the largest blood vessels in the body, deep in the chest,” said Dr.
Manson.

Although the surgery is very risky,
the volunteers at CARE put in a gargantuan effort to raise the money necessary
to get the surgery performed and along with a generous donation by Dr. Lana
Watler of Cayman Animal Hospital was able to raise the funds required.

“After learning that if her
condition went untreated she would have a very short life-span, we knew we had
to give her every opportunity possible so she could have a chance at living a
very normal healthy life that she so deserves, and so the operation was
performed,” said Lesley Agostinelli of CARE.

The surgery took place on 17
February and Ms Agostinelli admits that the volunteers were rather nervous
about the outcome, in spite of Dr. Manson’s assurances.

“It was a nerve-wracking time since
she is so small and we had been fully versed by Dr. Colin on the procedure and
the potential risks involved with the surgery,” said Ms Agostinelli.

According to Dr. Manson, things
could not have gone better.

“Following a night of intensive
care at home with me, Octavia was discharged from the hospital and is now
enjoying a period of quiet rest, until her stitches come out. Octavia should
now have every chance of a normal, healthy and happy life,” he said.

Ms Agostinelli is thrilled by the
progress Octavia has been making since her operation.

“It is now a week since her surgery
and we are all over the moon with how well she is recovering. You would not
believe she had just had open heart surgery, and she is bouncing back every
day,” she said.

 

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Dr. Colin Manson and Octavia.
Photo: Submitted