A Wexford family was reunited with their pet dog Charlie just 24 hours after a top British surgeon jetted in to save his life.
Top cardio-thoracic veterinary surgeon and UCD graduate Dr Mike Martin flew in from England to perform the operation on the 10-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the Gilabbey Veterinary Hospital in Cork city on Thursday.
Although the procedure has been performed at the Veterinary College in Dublin, Gilabbey vet Dr Tom Conway said they believe this was the first time it was performed in an Irish clinic.
Charlie was diagnosed with a rare heart defect which would have killed him within a year.
Gilabbey’s Dr Shane Guerin contacted his former college mate Dr Martin and asked him to perform the surgery.
Using the old technique, surgeons would have opened Charlie’s chest in a procedure that could last three hours and required three days’ recuperation.
But on Thursday, Dr Martin inserted a catheter into the femoral artery and then threaded a stent up through it to fix the abnormal blood vessel linking the dog’s aorta and pulmonary artery.
The procedure cost the Kehoe family from Clonard in Co Wexford €1,500 – less than half the normal cost.
Dr Conway said his practice was happy to waive its costs to be the first to perform the operation.