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Little Lola’s broken heart has been fixed at Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield.

Little Lola’s broken heart has been fixed at Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield.

Tiny Puppy's Broken Heart Fixed In World-leading Surgery

5 months ago

31st January, 2024 14h41

Linnaeus Group

Veterinary surgeons at a Yorkshire animal hospital have saved the life of a tiny puppy who is thought to be among the smallest patients in the world to undergo a complex cardiology procedure. 

Little Lola, a miniature Dachshund, was just 10 weeks old and weighed less than two bags of sugar when she was rushed to Linnaeus-owned Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield suffering from heart failure. 

Minimally invasive surgery was Lola’s best chance of survival even though she would be Paragon’s smallest patient to undergo the procedure, and amongst the smallest reported in the world, when weighing only 1.6kg. 

However, the surgery was a complete success and Lola’s symptoms of heart failure immediately resolved. Amazingly, she was discharged from hospital the following day. 

Lola’s grateful owner, Hayley Forrest from Shelf in Halifax, said: “We had only had Lola for 12 days and I noticed her breathing had changed and her ribs were visible as she inhaled. 

“A diagnosis confirmed a heart birth defect and we were in utter shock. She had undergone her first immunisations and got a full bill of health so we never in a million years expected to be told she had a heart problem. 

“Due to the size and potential complications we were extremely worried about the procedure, however the vets involved were amazing at putting our minds at rest and we knew we had to go through with this to give Lola a chance of life.” 

Lola had developed heart failure because of an underlying birth defect called patent ductus arteriosus, commonly know as ‘PDA’, which also occurs in human babies. 

This occurs when the communication between the two major blood vessels of the heart (the aorta and pulmonary artery) fails to close at birth and remains patent. This allows blood to ‘short-circuit’ between the heart and lungs, leading to heart enlargement and heart failure.

Julie Kavanagh, veterinary surgeon diplomate in cardiology at Paragon, said: “Unless her PDA could be closed, Lola’s outlook was very poor.

“Gold-standard treatment of PDA for both babies and dogs involves a minimally invasive surgery to place a special medical device inside the PDA lumen, occluding the blood flow through it. But, with Lola’s small body size, this approach would be extremely challenging. 

“A vein in Lola’s neck was used to access her heart by means of long catheters. These were passed through her heart and up to the level of her PDA. A special device called an Amplatz Vascular Plug- 2 was deployed with Lola’s PDA and this immediately occluded blood flow.

“Despite her tiny size, she coped well with her anaesthetic and was discharged from hospital the following day. Her outlook is now excellent, and her owners are over the moon.”

Lola’s owner Hayley added: “Lola has so much energy it’s hard to ever believe she went through this. She brings so much joy to our life. 

“The team at Paragon were amazing. I will always be thankful for the fact they looked at every possible way to save her life.”

Paragon provides expert care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery. 

For more information on Paragon Veterinary Referrals, visit or search for Paragon Veterinary Referrals on social media. 

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