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May 2, 2013

Buffalo veterinarian performs a life-saving surgery at no cost to the SPCA of Niagara

got heart: Buffalo veterinarian performs a life-saving surgery at no cost to the SPCA of Niagara.


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Sticklins brought Teddie back to the SPCA for testing. 

“They could hear a heart murmur,” Stricklin said. “And they said they thought it was a PDA.”

PDA is short for Patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital disorder in the heart where a value fails to close properly and creates abnormal blood flow. If it is not treated, it’s fatal.

Stricklin’s 15-year-old daughter had taken on the job of caring for the dogs and her young son had become “very attached” to the puppy. At the SPCA, Shelter Director Amy Lewis said surgery to save Teddie’s life would cost $4,000 and could only be done at Cornell University.

The shelter’s board of directors said they would begin an immediate effort to raise the necessary funds.

“We were worried something would happen to her (before the $4,000 could be raised),” Stricklin said. “She melts your heart and we were falling in love with her.”

Just as the fundraising started, Lewis got an unexpected phone call. It was Dr. Claudia Gray from the Ellicott Small Animal Hospital in Buffalo.

Lewis said she had met Gray during her time at the Erie County SPCA.

“One of the volunteers came into the office and she said, ‘Dr. Gray is on the phone and she wants to do the surgery on Teddie.’,” Lewis recalled. “And I thought that was amazing. We had just started that day to do the fundraising.”

Gray said she learned of Teddie’s plight from one of the Ellicott Small Animal Hospital’s vet techs.

“One of them saw a Facebook post that the SPCA had put up,” Gray said. “She works with me a lot in surgery and she knew I did that kind of surgery (that Teddie needed).”

The vet told Lewis she had a better idea then sending Teddie to Cornell.

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