“Kisses” Undergoes Open Chest Surgery at Angell Animal Medical Center

March 12, 2013

BOSTON—March 12, 2013 – “Kisses,” the adorable poodle-terrier puppy who captured the public’s attention in January when she was surrendered to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm with an ultimately fatal heart condition, is headed to her new adoptive home after life-saving surgery at Angell Animal Medical Center, the MSPCA announced today.

Fixing Kisses’ Broken Heart

Kisses was suffering from Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a condition marked by a blood vessel in the heart that does not close properly after birth.  If left untreated the condition leads to congestive heart failure.  Dr. Rebecca Quinn, part of the four-veterinarian Cardiology team at Angell, consulted on Kisses’ case in January and was optimistic she would be an excellent candidate for a non-invasive procedure to fix the PDA.  However, an exam performed two months later (a delay to give the young puppy time to grow large enough for surgery), showed just how severe her situation had become. 

According to her new owner, Margaret Cote of Dorchester, Kisses (right) immediately warmed up to resident dog "Chauncy," and the two have become inseparable (credit: MSPCA-Angell)

“As it turned out, Kisses’ PDA was so large that it eliminated the possibility that we could repair her damaged blood vessel through minimally invasive surgery,” said Dr. Quinn, upon evaluating Kisses in February.  “That meant we would need to perform open chest surgery to locate and repair the heart defect.”

Despite the higher risk the team was intent on moving forward and giving Kisses the chance at a life she so deserved.  On Wednesday, March 7, Angell surgeons Sue Casale, DVM, DACVS and Matthew Cleveland, DVM, operated on Kisses for two hours and successfully repaired the abnormal blood vessel.

Kisses’ Bright Future

After a short recovery Kisses made her way to her forever home with Margaret Cote of Dorchester.  Cote read about Kisses in the media and, moved by her plight, stepped forward to adopt her.  “I’m so grateful to the many people who donated toward the cost of her care, and to the MSPCA for sheltering her and—ultimately—saving her life.  Now that she’s home with me she can rest, run and play—and do all of the things every pet dog should be able to enjoy.”

The Public Steps Forward

The MSPCA-Angell had sought donations in January to offset the cost of Kisses’ medical care.  More than $9,000 poured in from people who read about her in newspapers and watched her story play out on television news programs.  The money raised covered all of Kisses’ medical bill, with some left over to pay the medical expenses of other homeless animals in the MSPCA’s care.

Kisses was surrendered, along with her three littermates and mother, to the Thomas J. O’Conner Animal Control and Adoption Center in Springfield in October 2012.  She was then transferred to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm when staffers at T.J. O’Conner realized she would need medical intervention that they were unprepared to provide.  It was there that Nevins Farm director Mike Keiley coordinated with colleagues at Angell to arrange for the surgery that would ultimately save her life.




The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals. Please visit www.mspca.org.