A young West Highland Terrier by the name of ‘Max’ experienced his very own emergency room drama this weekend. Facing major surgery to remove a cancerous tumour in his ear, Max suddenly suffered from a cardiac arrest in which his heart fully stopped, causing the vets at Kirkdale Pet Hospital in Liverpool to leap into action and give Max emergency CPR to restart his pulse. PDSA vet Donald Helliwell reached for a ‘crash-box’ (containing several emergency drugs and syringes to aid in these occasions) and along with effective resuscitation he was eventually revived. As Dr Helliwell remembers: “It felt like ages, but after about five minutes we managed to get his heart beating again and he was stabilized”.

Max’s owner, 83-year-old Doris Griffiths couldn’t believe what had happened to her beloved dog but insisted that the doctors go ahead with the pre-planned surgery to remove the tumour. Talking about her relationship with Max she stated:

“Max is my only companion and means everything to me. When the vets told me what had happened I was in shock at first but I wanted them to go ahead with his operation because he wouldn’t survive without it. The whole time he was under anaesthetic I was on tenterhooks and crying my eyes out. When they told me he had made it through the operation it was like a miracle. I can never thank PDSA enough. The vets basically brought him back from the dead and then also completed the planned surgery for his cancer and I’m so grateful. Max is my world and everywhere I go, he does too. Now he’s home I’ve set up a bed downstairs so I can be close to him while he recovers”.

Max continues to make a solid and speedy recovery at home whilst he receives a series of follow-up checks. Dr Helliwell added: “Cases like this are very rare but you always need to be prepared. Thankfully we were able to save Max and hopefully he and Doris will continue to share many more, happy years together”.

Doris decided to share Max’s incredible story in order to support the PDSA’s ‘Save a Star’ campaign which is raising funds to support the emergency veterinary care that the organisation provides. This Christmas alone, the PDSA will treat more than 50,000 sick or injured pets, many desperately in need of the lifesaving care experienced by dogs like Max.

People can donate to the campaign at

Images Courtesy of the PDSA


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