EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 22, 2013

Kisses the puppy has successful heart surgery

METHUEN — Kisses the puppy has a new home — and a newly repaired heart.

The poodle-terrier mix underwent life-saving heart surgery March 7 and is now living at her adoptive home in Dorchester.

The 18-week-old pup had been suffering from Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), an ultimately-fatal condition marked by a blood vessel in the heart that didn’t close properly after birth. If left untreated, PDA leads to congestive heart failure.

Kisses came to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm after her diagnosis. To help pay for her surgery, the MSPCA posted a fundraiser page online and quickly collected more than $9,000 in donations.

At first, veterinarians hoped to perform a non-invasive procedure. But that all changed after an exam in February.

“As it turned out, Kisses’ PDA was so large that it eliminated the possibility that we could repair her damaged blood vessel through minimally invasive surgery,” said Dr. Rebecca Quinn, one of four veterinarians on the Angell Animal Medical Center cardiology team. “That meant we would need to perform open chest surgery to locate and repair the heart defect.”

Vets were able to mend Kisses’ broken heart after a two-hour procedure. Kisses has since recovered and is now living at her adoptive home with Dorchester resident Margaret Cote, who stepped forward after reading media reports about the puppy’s plight.

“I’m so grateful to the many people who donated toward the cost of her care, and to the MSPCA for sheltering her and, ultimately, saving her life,” said Cote. “Now that she’s home with me she can rest, run and play — and do all of the things every pet dog should be able to enjoy.”

Kisses’ surgery was expected to cost between $3,500 and $4,500. The left over money from her fundraiser will be used to care for other homeless animals bunking at the MSPCA’s three shelters in Methuen, Boston and Centerville.

Kisses was brought to Methuen along with her mother and three litter mates by way of a Springfield animal shelter, after their owner flagged down a passing animal control van in October 2012 and surrendered the dogs on the spot.

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