Vet charity mends puppy’s ‘broken heart’

Winnie's broken heart was fixed with complex surgery

A five-month-old pup is able to feel the love this Valentine’s Day after surviving a complex and life-saving heart surgery thanks to vet charity PDSA.

Winnie-Wynter was brought in to Croydon PDSA Pet Hospital when her family noticed she had a worryingly fast heart rate, that wouldn’t slow down. Vets quickly found that as well as a fast heartbeat, she also had a loud heart murmur, which is caused by abnormal flow of blood in the heart.

“Unfortunately, due to her young age and the loudness of her heart murmur, the concern was that Winnie could be suffering from a congenital heart defect (a heart problem that a puppy is born with) called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA),” a PDSA statement explains.

after heart surgery

“This is when a connection between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart doesn’t close after birth as it should, which often leads to heart failure if not treated. At Thamesmead PDSA Pet Hospital, Winnie underwent x-rays which showed her heart was already larger than it should be due to the extra workload put on it by the defect. An ultrasound examination of her heart confirmed the enlargement and the diagnosis of PDA.”

As most puppies with a PDA go on to develop heart failure before they are a year old, Winnie needed life-saving heart surgery to repair the defect and, quite literally, fix her broken heart. Senior Vets, David Mills and Millie Wilder, performed the complex operation together on 1 February 2023 – and it was a success.

Owner Kersharn McPherson said, “Our world crumbled when we found out that Winnie had a serious, life-threatening condition at such a young age. I can’t express the relief we felt when we found out the surgery was a success and she was recovering well. We were bracing ourselves for the worst news, so we are eternally grateful to PDSA for saving our girl’s life.”

After an overnight stay at the charity’s Pet Hospital, Winnie was able to head home to continue her recovery with her family, and vets will keep monitoring her closely in the coming months.

Kersharn added, “This Valentine’s and beyond, we will be spoiling Winnie with so much love. After beating all the odds, we can’t wait to enjoy many more years with her.  The surgery she had would have cost thousands at a private vet, due to its complexity, and we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Like everyone, we’ve been feeling the impact of rising bills. I’m just so glad PDSA were here to help us in our time of need.”

PDSA believes no pet should suffer because of their owners financial circumstances, and is dedicated to keeping pets and owners together.  As the country struggles to deal with the cost of living crisis, pets like Winnie will still fall ill or become injured and need emergency care. PDSA is appealing for donations so that the charity can continue to support owners and keep families together, who have nowhere else to turn by providing life-saving care to vulnerable pets. To donate, visit


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