Belfast Telegraph

Puppy Callan recovering after life-saving heart surgery

By Victoria O'Hara

A little puppy who captured the hearts of the Northern Ireland public after needing life-saving treatment is recovering after successfully coming through the major operation.

Thousands of pounds was raised for Callan the Cavalier King Charles puppy to have the heart procedure and give him a new lease of life.

Without the operation he wouldn't have lived to become an adult.

He suffers from pulmonary stenosis, a condition in which one of the valves in his heart is too narrow.

The only answer was to have an operation in which a balloon was passed up a vein and into the puppy's heart. The balloon was then inflated several times to stretch the valve before being deflated.After a Northern Ireland-wide appeal led by Cavaliers in Need, the public raised the £3,500 needed and Callan underwent the operation yesterday.

The team at Cromlyn House Veterinary Clinic in Hillsborough led the intricate procedure which was a success.

Hours later in a heartwarming message, Catherine Southwell, who runs the Cavaliers in Need Facebook page and who fosters Callan, posted: "Callan is awake and eating, we are over the moon. Thank you to each and everyone who has wished him well, donated and showed us support, special thanks to Cromlyn vets for taking good care of this special wee man, we all have happy tears now x"

The public took to social media to tell of their relief at the good news that the operation had gone well.

One man posted: "Well done all involved in getting little Callan the treatment he so desperately needed, speedy recovery little man xx."

Within 24 hours of launching the appeal to raise the desperately needed money on her Cavaliers In Need Facebook page, the Lurgan mum reported that big-hearted dog lovers had already raised more than £1,000.

A fundraising walk was organised in Lurgan Park on March 21 which attracted huge crowds of people.

The tiny puppy's story was also reported across the UK.

Mum-of-one Catherine is a huge Cavalier fan - she has 15 of her own and is currently fostering six, including one Cavalier-Bichon cross.

Most of the fosters will eventually go on to their permanent home.

But Catherine has previously spoken that whoever eventually adopts Callan will have to be prepared to take on a big responsibility.

"Callan was bred by a big breeder in Wexford," she said.

"She had taken Callan to be examined by her own vet because she knew something was going on with him.

"He will never really be cured as such - there will always be murmuring in his heart."

And Catherine added: "It's something a new owner will have to monitor and the surgery may have to be repeated."

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