Pet dog suffered life-threatening hypothermia after plunging into pool

Rescue pup Eric with Giuseppe Palatucci, the vet who saved his life. 

Rescue pup Eric with Giuseppe Palatucci, the vet who saved his life. - Credit: Best Friends Vet Group

A beloved pet pup suffered life-threatening hypothermia when he plunged into a freezing cold swimming after escaping his Cambridgeshire home.  

The terrifying ordeal left Staffordshire Bull Terrier Eric submerged for up to an hour after he fled from his home in March, Cambridgeshire. 

His owner, Phil Cole, jumped into the pool to rescue him and ran with his lifeless pet in his arms to Best Friends Vet Group in Upwell Road, where Eric was given emergency treatment to save his life.  

Vet, Giuseppe Palatucci immediately rushed to 11-year-old Eric’s aid and said the dog was so cold his temperature didn’t register on the thermometer.   

He said: “I was very worried about Eric because although he hadn’t taken any water into his lungs, he was exhausted and suffering from hypothermia.  

“He had a dangerously low body temperature and if his owner hadn’t got him to us when he did, I don’t think Eric would have made it.” 

The vets scrambled together to grab towels and a hairdryer to dry off Eric’s coat and focused on slowly raising his body temperature to avoid internal damage.  

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Within three hours his body started to stabilise after being under a heat lamp and placed in a warming unit.  

Eric was fed a broth made from dog food and warm water to help warm him from the inside.   

Vets were delighted Eric had luckily responded well to the treatments.

A mystery to his owner, Eric is “afraid of water and usually doesn’t go near the pool.”  

Doting owner Phil was relieved his rescue pup had recovered.   

He said: “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.  

“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.”  

On the day Eric went into the pool, Mr Cole had been out looking for him, 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 and turn the key and knock the handle to make the door open.  

“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 doesn’t know how or why Eric, who he rescued as a puppy through the RSPCA, got into the pool.  

He said: “The edge of the pool is 2ft 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.”