EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 25, 2013

Saving Kisses: Donations sought for puppy needing heart surgery

By Brian Messenger
bmessenger@eagletribune.com

---- — METHUEN — Kisses is a tiny poodle-terrier mix with a life-threatening heart ailment, but you’d never know it by her demeanor, says MSPCA at Nevins Farm Director Mike Keiley.

“She’s spunky, fun, energetic,” said Keiley. “She’s got a bad ticker, but she’s got a great heart. Everybody has fallen in love with her.”

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 and surrendered the dogs on the spot.

At the shelter, it was discovered 10-week-old Kisses has Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a 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.

To save her, the MSPCA hopes to perform surgery on Kisses. But the procedure will cost between $3,500 and $4,500.

“We thought we might have an opportunity to fund raise for her,” said Keiley. “We said we would give it a try.”

The MSPCA has created a donation page for Kisses. Any money raised above and beyond the cost of her treatment will go directly toward the care of other homeless animals at the MSPCA’s three Massachusetts shelters.

MSPCA staff will work to find Kisses a permanent home after her procedure. Rather than perform open heart surgery, which is risky, a catheter will be inserted into a vein in the puppy’s back leg and a surgeon will access her heart through the catheter.

Keiley said the surgery won’t be performed for at least another month, as Kisses weighs just three pounds and needs to gain weight.

“She just has to grow up a little bit,” said Keiley.

To help pay for Kisses’ life-saving surgery, go to www.mspca.org/kisses.