Dog's lucky escape from hypothermia after being trapped in freezing swimming pool for up to an hour

A Cambridgeshire vet is urging owners to keep swimming pools and ponds out of bounds to pets after a dog suffered life-threatening hypothermia after plunging into a freezing cold pool.

By adam barker
Friday, 11th March 2022, 10:01 am
Eric the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with Vet Giuseppe Palatucci, who saved the dogs life after he suffered hyperthermia from falling in owners freezing cold swimming pool.
Eric the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with Vet Giuseppe Palatucci, who saved the dogs life after he suffered hyperthermia from falling in owners freezing cold swimming pool.

Eric the Staffordshire Bull Terrier suffered hypothermia after submerging himself in a freezing cold swimming pool for up to an hour before owner, Phil Cole, dived into the pool to rescue him.

Mr Cole carried the lifeless dog in his arms to Best Friends Vet Group, in Upwell Road, March, where he was given emergency treatment.

Vet Giuseppe Palatucci managed to save Eric, but said that the 11-year-old dog was so cold that his temperature did not display on the thermometer.

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“We used towels and a hair dryer to dry off Eric’s coat, and then focused on slowly raising his body temperature,” Mr Palatucci said. “This is very important because doing it too quickly can cause internal damage.

“We then put Eric under a heat lamp and placed a warming unit called a Bair Hugger underneath him. He was also wrapped in a heat-retaining foil blanket and fed a broth made from dog food diluted in warm water to warm him up from the inside.

“I was really pleased that Eric responded well to the treatment and his body soon started to stabilise. His temperature steadily crept up and was back to normal within three hours.”

Mr Palatucci said Eric had a lucky escape and urged pet owners to take precautions to protect their pets if they have a pond or swimming pool.

He said: “If possible, make them pet proof by fencing the area off, which will also prevent

hedgehogs and another wildlife toppling in.

“For swimming pools, consider non-slip edging or a non-slip pool ramp. While solid pool covers may sound like a good idea, dogs can slip underneath them and become trapped.”

Eric is now back home with his relieved owner Mr Cole, who rescued the pooch as a puppy through the RSPCA.

“When I arrived at Best Friends Vets to collect Eric, he was wagging his tail and it was the

best sight ever because I thought I was going to lose him,” Mr Cole said. “I’m so grateful for the exceptional treatment everyone at the vets gave him, and I know that without their care he wouldn’t be here.

“Giuseppe was on his lunch break when I brought Eric in, but he rushed straight out to help.”

Mr Cole had been out looking for Eric, before being alerted to his pet’s predicament by a neighbour.

He said: “Eric was safely in the house at 10am but by midday he was missing. He is quite a clever dog and can jump up, turn the key and knock the handle to open the door.

“I went for a quick drive to look for him, and when I returned home a neighbour came to the door and said Eric was in my swimming pool. I raced into the garden and saw that he had managed to get his front paws onto the pool cover to try and pull himself up, but he was up to his neck in water.”

Mr Cole remains unaware as to how or why his beloved pet got into the pool.

“It’s a mystery as Eric is afraid of water and doesn’t usually go near it,” he said “Also, the edge of the pool is two feet above ground and I thought this was safe because he couldn’t fall in.

"He was very lucky this time, but I’m going to make sure I take the key out of the lock in the future and not give him another chance to escape.”