The vet parents of a baby boy whose life was saved by heart surgery have thanked the doctor who performed the procedure by treating his French bulldog for the same condition.
Mattia Ferasin, now four, was born with a hole in his heart and needed a seven-hour operation to save his life.
Dr Caner Salih, one of the cardiac surgeons involved later revealed that his pet bulldog Büdu had the same heart problem and Mattia's parents Luca, 54, and Heidi - who are veterinary cardiologists - immediately volunteered to help when they found out.
The surgery on the dog was a success and, in another twist, Büdu and Mattia have become best friends.
Mattia Ferasin, left, needed open heart surgery shortly after birth due to a hole in his heart. One of the doctors involved later revealed his French bulldog Büdu, right, had the same problem and Mattia's vet parents were quick to treat him
Mattia was born with a ventricular septal defect and a narrow aorta which limited the flow of blood to the loer half of his body. He needed a life-saving seven-hour operation at Evelina London Children's Hospital to correct the problem
One of the surgeons who performed the operation, Dr Caner Salih, left with French bulldog Büdu, later revealed his dog had the same condition and Mattia's parents Luca, right with his son, and Heidi, both vets, immediately volunteered to treat the animal
Mrs Ferasin, 38, from Four Marks, Hampshire, said: 'We are forever indebted to the whole team of doctors who helped Mattia.
'Without their skill and knowledge of all the staff we are well aware that we wouldn't have Mattia with us now.
'This is our way of giving something back because no words can ever express the gratitude that we feel.'
She added: 'We have always felt that we owe all the staff so much.
'We are very aware that without their skill, passion and compassion, Mattia may not be here today.
'Thanks to the surgery and the ongoing care of the cardiology team, Mattia is a thriving, healthy and happy little boy who just celebrated his fourth birthday.'
Dr Salih, 58, added: 'Büdu has now made a full recovery. He's not the brightest dog in the world but he's family.'
Mattia was born at St Thomas Hospital in London with a hole in his heart and a narrow aorta that was limiting the blood supply to the lower half of his body.
The conditions - a ventricular septal defect and coarctation of the aorta - were picked up 20 weeks into Heidi's pregnancy.
He was operated on at the adjoining Evelina London Children's Hospital when he was six days old in March 2015.
Mother-of-two Mrs Ferasin, who also has a seven-year-old son called Dante, said: 'When we found out about the heart condition it was really frightening to