Chihuahua bounces back to life after emergency vets perform CPR for 20 minutes

A tiny puppy was brought back from the dead after 20 minutes of heart massage by a vet.

Chihuahua Rory is now a lively and mischievous puppy – but when he came into the world weighing just four ounces nine weeks ago he was lifeless, and nobody expected him to survive.

Mum-of-five Lynne McMillan and her family had been looking forward to the arrival of the pup for weeks.

But as excitement reached a peak ahead of the due date things suddenly took a turn for the worse when Rory’s mum, Pixie, was rushed to the Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Glasgow.

Staff told Lynne they couldn’t hear the puppy’s heartbeat and, with Pixie’s condition deteriorating rapidly, they may be better served to focus on saving her life.

Lynne and her family were distraught at the news and left fearing Pixie wouldn’t survive her ordeal.

But later that evening they got a phone call to say a miracle had happened. Not only had Pixie survived, but plucky Rory had too.

Image of chihuahua puppy for Vets Now article
Rory a few days after he was born

Where is my nearest pet emergency clinic?

Lynne, of Kirkintilloch, near Glasgow, described how her family coped with an evening that took them on a rollercoaster of emotions.

She said: “The evening started well enough. We could see Pixie was in the early stages of labour and when we got a friend who knows about breeding dogs to have a look at her she said she looked just fine.

“She wasn’t distressed or panting, but as time went on I could see things were not right, and as it was only 7 am we phoned Vets Now. They said to come in and from then on it was panic stations.

“The vet did an ultrasound on Pixie and said the puppy’s heart was failing and that it probably wouldn’t survive. They needed to concentrate on mum because her blood pressure was low and she was sick as well.

“We left panicking about Pixie and then three or four hours later they rang to say the puppy was ok for now and could we come in. The kids were jumping for joy.

“We got in the car right away. We couldn’t believe it, and when we got there, we all cried happy tears.”

Lynne was full of praise for the Vets Now staff and vet Emma Donnelly who brought Rory back to life after the cesarian section birth.

“I can’t thank her enough for working on Rory for all that time before she got a heartbeat. He’s a crazy little puppy now and swinging off the tail of my other dogs, Hamish, a Westie, and Paddy, a Shih Tzu,” she said.

The arrival of Rory means that with his dad Charlie and mum Pixie Lynne has quite a busy household with three Chihuahuas, two other dogs and five children aged between six and 22.

“Since Rory arrived home my house has been full of balloons and teddies and messages from friends. He’s famous since I told people about him on Facebook,” said Lynne, a school facilities assistant.

Rory has also given a boost to Lynne’s youngest, six-year-old Evie, who has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since she was two.

She’s competing for Rory’s affections with her dad, Neil, though. Lynne describes her husband as a “big softie” who comes home from work as a roofer to call the puppy “daddy’s boy”.


Image of puppies for article by Vets Now

My dog's in labour. When should I go to the vet?

  1. You’re inexperienced with dogs in labour, or you don’t recognise contractions
  2. Your dog is unwell
  3. Your dog has a history of several litters or is more than four years old
  4. Your dog has been experiencing strong, regular contractions at least every three minutes for more than 45 minutes but either hasn’t produced puppies or more than 30 minutes have passed since the last puppy
  5. There’s been a delay of more than three hours between puppies with no or weak straining
  6. Presence of dark green vaginal discharge with no contractions
  7. Presence of dark green vaginal discharge with contractions for more than 15 minutes without a puppy
  8. Puppy is visible but stuck in the vaginal canal

Read our in-depth advice guide on dogs in labour

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Staff at the Vets Now hospital were delighted to receive a video from Lynne showing the progress Rory had made since his traumatic birth.

Vet Emma said: “It’s lovely to see how well Rory’s recovered. We didn’t hold out much hope for him at first, but we didn’t want to give up on him either.

“After 20 minutes of CPR, we kept him in an oxygen tent for two hours while we nursed his mother.

“Many dogs can whelp on their own without any difficulties, but we would urge owners to watch out for any warning signs and contact a vet for advice if they are concerned.”

The Vets Now hospital in Glasgow is Scotland’s first dedicated 24/7 pet emergency service. It operates as a pet A&E department with a team of dedicated specialist, referral and emergency vets on hand to provide care.

It’s one of 55 Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals across the UK that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.