Breathing a sigh of relief

21:26, Jun 28 2012
Marianne Jordan and Harry
HUMAN HELP: Stratford dog Harry, with owner Marianne Jordan, can thank a human medical component for saving his life.

The little Stratford dog that looks like Hairy Maclary has an extraordinary tale of his own to tell after an emergency trip to Palmerston North to save his life.

Vets, medical suppliers, couriers and delivery people pulled out all the stops to make sure Harry, a 6-year-old affenpinscher, got the help he needed to keep breathing.

In the end it was a metallic stent usually used to treat humans with bile duct disease that saved his life.

The whole medical adventure will cost his owners Ian and Marianne Jordan about $6000 to $7000, but yesterday Mr Jordan said he has been a great companion.

"He's only a little fella but he's like a shadow – very loyal.

"We got to the point of no return so we carried on getting into it. Expensive little bugger.


"I don't think he's out of the woods totally. It'll be a slow recovery and it will be as good as we look after him really.

"He will come back to pretty much normal."

Harry was brought to the veterinary teaching hospital at Massey University with a degenerative throat condition last week.

His trachea was collapsing and he was finding it hard to breathe and have any quality of life.

"X-rays showed his airway was collapsing and an endoscopy proved that the collapse was severe," Alison Stickney, practising resident in small animal medicine, said.

A stent was needed for Harry to breathe and the only one small enough to fit his trachea was in the United States – a two-week delivery.

Then last Friday the little dog's condition deteriorated, requiring urgent surgery.

"We phoned Boston Scientific, a human medical supplies company in Auckland, and asked them what they had in his size," surgeon Dr John Bray said.

"They got it on an urgent courier and by 4pm it was here, by 6pm it was in Harry and by 7pm he was out of surgery."

The stent was inserted by catheter into Harry's trachea and when in position expanded to the right size to allow proper airflow.

Mr Jordan can sympathise with his pet, having had recent surgery on his face.

"Both Harry and I are at home in recovery."

Taranaki Daily News