Service Dog Gets Lifesaving Heart Surgery
Chewey, a 5 1/2 month old Labrador retriever with a heart problem that could cut his life span to just a couple of years. His heart beats at about 3 times the normal rate and if this isn’t regulated it could kill him.
Now we all know that all our pooches are special but Chewey is even a bit extra special, he’s in training at Autism Service Dogs of America in Oregon and will be placed with an autistic child.
Mary Shimmel, Chewey’s Trainer: “He will be an autism service dog. He will go with a child who has autism and help that child socialize to his environment.”
The procedure that Chewey will undergo is a 6 hour surgery called radio-frequency catheter ablation which is only performed at the Cincinnati Animal Referral and Emergency Center and costs about $6000. While this procedure is only done about a dozen times a year, dogs from all over the world travel to Cincinnati to have it done.
Dr. Kathy Wright, the only Veterinary Cardiologist in North America who performs the surgery said, “Chewey will be placed under general anesthesia and catheters will be sterilely introduced into his veins through his legs and neck, and advanced up into his heart.”
During the operation, catheters, little tubes, heat and destroy excess tissue, bringing Chewey’s heart rate back to normal so he can go home his happy tail waggin’ self pretty quickly.
As for the expensive surgery, Dr. Wright and the hospital have a foundation set up that actually covers most of the costs of the procedure.
So here’s kudos to Dr. Wright and the Cincinnati Animal Referral and Emergency Center and good luck and a long and happy life for Chewey. He’s going to make some child very happy and bring their world into focus.
For more information on Service Dogs for the Autistic, visit Autism Service Dogs of America
Source – Local 12
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