Vet parents save sick dog of surgeon who operated on their four-year-old son with deadly heart defect and saved his life – The Sun

A SURGEON who saved the life of a baby boy with a deadly heart defect has had the favour repaid after the little lad's veterinarian parents saved the life of his dog.

Dr Caner Salih kept little Mattia Ferasin, now four, alive by performing a seven-hour surgery due to a hole in his heart – a condition it was later discovered that dog Büdu was also suffering from.

A routine baby scan revealed that mum Heidi Ferasin, 38, from Hampshire, was expecting a baby with heart defects – and as a veterinary cardiologist, she knew too well the dangers of the condition.

They explained to the Mirror: "A little bit of knowledge is sometimes a bag thing, because your mind goes into overdrive. We were aware of the risks and we knew Mattia would need surgery."

At 20 weeks, it was confirmed the baby boy had two major congenital defects and a possibility of more, leaving the parents to undergo a 'waiting game' until he could be operated on.

Mattia was born two weeks early at London's St Thomas' Hospital and was scheduled to have surgery at the Evelina Children's Hospital next door at 10 days old, performed by paediatric surgeon Dr Salih.

"I got to hold Mattia for about 10 seconds and give him a kiss before the paediatric intensive care team took him away," explained Heidi. "I got to see him two hours later for our first cuddle."

Mattia was healthy for the first six fays of his life – but the surgery was moved forward for the baby when his heart rate began to soar.

"The surgery took longer than we thought it would so we got really worried," the mum admitted of the seven hour operation. "When we saw him after, it was a traumatic sight.

"There were lots of tubes and cables and he looked very swollen. I broke down in tears because he had survived the surgery – he came through and that was a massive relief."

Supported all the way by Dr Salih, Mattia made a fantastic recovery and just days after the major surgery, he was breathing on his own and eating healthily.

It was only then that the Ferasin's got talking to the surgeon properly, and realised that his French bulldog puppy Büdu, the same age as Mattia, was suffering from a heart problem.

Mattia's dad Luca, 54, who works at a veterinary referral hospital, offered for Büdu to come in for treatment as an act on thanks. There he found Büdu has the same defect as his son.

Luca said: "When the image of the defect appeared on the screen of my ultrasound machine during Büdu’s examination, I was so surprised because it was the same congenital defect that Mattia had."

Unlike Mattia, the dog did not require surgery but Luca closely monitored the condition and gave Dr Salih a number of options to manage care for the dog at home.

Within a year, Büdu's hole in his heart had closed without surgery – and now both he and Mattia are healthy, with Dr Salih and the Ferasin's becoming good friends.

"We are great friends now, we see them regularly and Mattia calls Büdu his best friend," adds Heidi. "And the beautiful thing is that we have been exchanging surgical knowledge with Dr Salih too."

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