BRITISH COLUMBIA

Groundbreaking Heart Surgery Saves B.C. Dog's Life

11/10/2015 05:34 EST | Updated 11/10/2015 07:59 EST

It took less than two minutes for an open-heart surgery to save one very lucky dog.

The seven-month old German shepherd/Doberman cross named Taylor was surrendered to the Whistler Animal Shelter in July.

His stomach was swollen and filled with fluid, a condition initially thought to be caused by a parasitic infection. But Dr. Marco Margiocco, B.C.'s only animal cardiologist, diagnosed the dog with a rare, potentially deadly congenital heart defect.

Margiocco tried a less invasive surgery to try and save the canine, but it didn't work.

So, Dr. Michael King stepped in to perform open-heart surgery — a first for dogs in B.C.

But it wasn't cheap. The procedure itself cost $8,000 and took King one minute and 40 seconds to complete. (Watch video above.)

open heart surgery dog taylor

Taylor, a seven-month-old puppy, is prepped for an open-heart surgery in November 2015 to save his life.

Taking into account initial tests, the first procedure, and Taylor's intensive care for recovery, it cost $24,000 to save the canine's life.

The vet said the decision to go ahead with such high costs wasn't taken lightly.

"Whenever we have a situation such as Taylor’s, a lot of factors are considered before we go ahead," King said in an email to The Huffington Post B.C. "Taylor is a young, and otherwise very healthy dog, and if we could correct this single congenital abnormality, he had an extremely good prognosis for a completely normal and full life."

The vet said the animal shelter fundraised to cover some costs, but the remainder was covered by the animal hospital and doctors themselves.

"I am sure there are people who will feel this money would be better spent elsewhere, [but] Taylor undergoing this surgery does not in any way interfere with or prevent a person from receiving vital health care," King said.

"In fact, the more advanced veterinary medicine becomes, the more information our profession can hopefully contribute back to human medicine, potentially helping improve (even if only in a small way) health care for people too."

King said Taylor already has a foster parent willing to take him home once he's fully recovered.

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B.C. First Canine Open Heart Surgery