The Science Of Vet Med

Saving a Puppy


Watch as Dr. Justine Lee works to save Willie, a 12-week-old Yorkie-Maltese puppy that nearly died after falling off a boat into deep water.

After performing CPR on Willie, his family rushed him to the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota. It was a good thing they did — Willie developed medical complications after the accident and could have died without the expert care of Dr. Lee and the emergency staff.

Because they were worried that Willie had inhaled water into his lungs, you’ll see the staff x-ray his chest and place a small clip on his lip to measure the level of oxygen in his body. He’s also placed in a special cage that provides extra oxygen to help his lungs take in and deliver more oxygen to his body.

Vet Tech Caring For Puppy
Puppy Radiographs
Weighing Puppy
Puppy Blood Pressure

Willie’s temperature was way below the normal temperature for dogs, a condition called hypothermia. His body was shivering in an effort to generate more heat.

Hypothermia can affect many different organs in the body, so the staff needs to monitor his condition and gradually warm him back up to normal.

To help the puppy, you’ll see the staff perform blood tests, check Willie’s blood pressure and place a catheter into a vein in his arm so they can administer IV fluids. The bottom of his special oxygen cage also provided heat to gently warm him up.


Dogs have a normal body temperature, which ranges from 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 to 39.2 degrees Celsius. Hypothermia, a condition in which the dog’s temperature falls below normal, can have life-threatening consequences.

Hypothermia can become more dangerous for the pet the lower its temperature falls. The degrees of hypothermia are included in the graphic below:

Mild Hypothermia Dogs
Moderate Hypothermia Dogs
Severe Hypothermia Dogs
Profound Hypothermia Dog

Remember the temperatures in this series of graphics are the body temperatures of the dog.

Some dogs become hypothermic by falling through ice into freezing lake or river water or being exposed to freezing outdoor temperatures in the winter. But other dogs may develop hypothermia as a complication from underlying diseases, injury or certain medications.

Very young, very old and sick dogs may be more likely to become hypothermic, because their bodies may not be as efficient at regulating temperature. While not as common, cats can have hypothermia, too.

Puppy Client


If you want to learn more about the science of veterinary medicine, take a look at some of the other video cases on Vet Set Go. You can learn about cataracts if you watch this video and see a veterinary ophthalmologist perform surgery on a patient to restore its sight. If you click on this video, you’ll see a veterinary surgical specialist operate on a Red Wolf. For a complete listing of our Science of Vet Medicine cases, see this page.

Written by: Dr. Chris Carpenter
Comments Add Comment
December 18 - 03:12pm

This story really touched my heart. This is exactly what i want to do when i grow up. Saving any animal in my life is amazing for me. i'm only 10 years old and i wanted to be a vet ever since i was 1 year old. this is probably my favorite story because i want to help animals in every way possible. please post more stories like this one and thank you.

February 28 - 01:02pm

I don't think I one year old even knows what a veterinarian is. But, it's cool that you want to do that. I want to too. :)

May 1 - 12:05am

im 13 and have basically the same scenario as you, i have wanted to be a vet for a long as i can remember, two year ago we had to put down our cat she had a failed bladder due to a broken tail we had to manually squeeze her bladder untill we put her down because of the nerve damage. thats when i really knew for sure i wanted to be a vet.

August 28 - 09:08pm

Same here but I was in kindergarten

March 15 - 10:03am

amazing story! One year ago my dog that has always been there for me had a Cardiacarrest and passed away at the vets BUT the staff did CPR and brought her back... Sadly she died 6hrs later due to a 3rd Cardiacarrest. : (

Dr. Chris Carpenter
March 17 - 01:03pm

I am sorry for your loss. I know you will become a veterinarian and help so many other animals. Keep following your dream!

March 27 - 09:03pm

LOVE IT!!!!!!!

March 27 - 09:03pm

such a great video to watch. :)

April 18 - 11:04pm

My sister is a Vet Tech in Alaska I hope to be like her one day! I want to save pets and make their owners happy!!!

December 7 - 07:12pm

That is such a sweet story. I loved the video. So heart warming :) :)

October 23 - 02:10pm

This will help me understand the dogs at the shelter more so I can help them stay warm

June 9 - 03:06pm

This is a sad story but it has a really happy ending.

March 17 - 04:03pm

that's so sad he almost died. but you saved him and that's the good thing. my dog almost died giardia he was 2weeks old but harmony vet care helped him get back to normal :)

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