Chihuahua Brought Back to Life

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Julietta, a three-year-old chihuahua from Chula Vista, California, died on January 6. Minutes later, her vets brought her back to life. By January 9, she was getting ready for adoption.

The little dog, whom staff feared had been abused, was dropped off at the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility to have her broken leg treated. Juli Maher, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, operated on Julietta’s leg with the help of Registered Veterinarian Technician Mark Manzon.

Suddenly, Julietta stopped breathing after the surgery was done. For some strange reason, her little heart stopped beating.

“She had no heartbeat, no respiratory rate,” said Dr. Maher. “She was turning blue.”

Little Julietta had clinically died there on the table.

But not if Dr. Maher and Manzon had anything to say about it. The two had only just recently completed a CPR course teaching updated rescue techniques.

“So she’s laying on her side, so I start doing chest compressions,” Dr. Maher told KGTV. “And we do it to the beat of ‘Stayin’ Alive,’ because it’s about 120 beats per minute.”

After two minutes of trying to resuscitate the little dog, the pair noticed that Julietta had again started breathing.

“Although every precaution is taken to ensure that an animal is healthy enough for anesthesia/surgery (I.e. Preoperative bloodwork, radiographs in cases of trauma cases), unexpected complications can occur in any case,” says Dr. Karen Kennedy, DVM at Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital.  “Julietta was very fortunate to have her doctor and technician recognize her status immediately and take quick action. Even with immediate CPR, the majority of these cases do not have the happy ending that Julietta’s did.”

In almost three decades of veterinary medicine, Maher said that she’s never seen a dog in the condition that Julietta was in come back to life with complete brain function.

“That rarely happens,” Maher said. “I was just amazed.”

Julietta is recovering from the surgery on her leg, and will be put up for adoption some time within the next three months.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between six to eight million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year, but only three to four million are ever actually adopted. Due to overpopulation, some 2.7 million healthy animals are euthanized every year, which means that there’s a perfectly healthy animal put down every 11 minutes.

Anyone interested in adopting an animal and saving its life can check local animal shelters.

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