Thanks to the quick-thinking of PDSA’s “angel” vets and nurses pint-sized Chihuahua Picalina was brought back from the brink of death after suffering major heart failure.
Lying lifeless in his panic-stricken owner’s arms after collapsing in the waiting room at Glasgow PDSA pet hospital, the beloved 10-year-old pet was rushed into the PetAid hospital’s theatre room. Vets performed emergency life-saving care including cardiac massage, in a bid to restart his heart.
PDSA vet Susie Hermit said: “Everything happened very quickly and after collapsing, blood was pouring from Picalina’s nose due to his heart’s inability to pump blood around his body.
“We rushed Picalina through to theatre when his heart stopped beating. We put a tubedown his throat so we could give oxygen directly to him and gave him adrenaline, to stimulate the heart’s muscle and to make sure that Picalina’s vital organs were supplied with blood. We also performed cardiac massage and gave him a virtual cocktail of drugs to try and revive him.”
As vets battled to save little Picalina they also had to warn Sara that there was very little chance of success, recalled Susie: “X-rays confirmed Picalina had a huge enlarged heart, which meant that his heart wasn’t pumping the blood around his body as well as it should – the heart muscles simply weren’t as strong as they should be.
“Picalina was effectively dead after his heart stopped, but we did everything we could to get his heart beating again and to make sure that his body got enough oxygen by providing it through the tube we’d put down his throat. We couldn’t just give up on him!
“We didn’t expect him to survive but we told Sara that we were doing all we could. Picalina’s survival spirit meant he rallied and we were able to get his heart beating and to breathe again. He is a very lucky dog.”
Thanks to PDSA, Picalina was brought back from the dead – a feat his owner Sara Bethwaite, 35, from Glasgow’s West End, describes as a “miracle”.
Picalina was so ill that he was kept at the hospital for several days before being allowed home. He has gone on to make a good recovery but due to a grade five heart murmur, one of the most severe, he now relies on a cocktail of drugs. He must be given these every day to keep his condition under control.
Sara, who has owned Picalina since he was just 13-weeks-old, said he meant everything to her. He was actually bought as a present by her partner Graham, who she is due to wed this year.
She said: “Picalina had already been diagnosed with a heart murmur and on this particular day he seemed to be gasping for breath and really struggling, so I rushed him to PDSA for a check-up.
“It was absolutely terrifying when he stopped breathing but I can’t thank the staff at PDSA enough for everything they did to save him – they worked miracles! They really are angels as, without them, Picalina wouldn’t be alive today.
“Picalina was given to me as a gift by my fiancé Graham so he means a lot to us. We know he’s not going to be with us for that long because of his health problems, but we love him to bits. I’m unbelievably grateful to PDSA for everything they have done to help us.”
Glasgow Shamrock Street PDSA PetAid hospital provides free veterinary treatment to the sick and injured pets of local people in need.