Beautiful three year old Pomeranian, Georgina Corrigan, came in to see vet, Rachel Bowen, last month with severe anaemia. She had been lethargic for a couple of days, bleeding from her gums with a very poor appetite and dark stools.
Rachel admitted her immediately for further tests, the results of which showed a very low level of red blood cells in her blood coupled with a raised white blood cell count. There was no indication of any type of bacterial infection but she needed treatment immediately in the form of a blood transfusion. By this time our on call vet for the evening, Eve, had arrived to take over Georgina's care through the night and was in touch with the Pet Blood Bank to order blood for the transfusion.
The Pet Blood Bank UK is the only charity providing a canine blood bank service for all veterinary practices across the UK. In a very similar way to humans, dog owners take their pets to donate at sessions nationwide. The blood is taken to the processing centre in Loughborough where it is stored waiting for despatch to anywhere in the UK.
As Georgina needed 'whole' blood this had to be fresh so the Pet Blood Bank phoned one of their emergency donors who went immediately to donate and the blood was then couriered here to us at the hospital. Eve started the transfusion in the early hours of the morning, a process that takes four hours and can cause a reaction at any time during or soon after the treatment.
Georgina tolerated the transfusion well and was eating, drinking and wagging her tail happily the following day. Eve started her on immunosuppressive therapy which reduces the strength of the body's immune system. At this point Georgina's future prognosis was uncertain; she could go into full remission, remain on treatment for life or be non-responsive to the drugs (in which case her chances of survival would be poor).
She was discharge two days after the transfusion with ongoing medication and has been back to see us at regular intervals since then to check her blood. A month later her owner reports that she is back to her normal self at home and with her blood results continuing to be good her medication is gradually being reduced.
To find out more about how your dog can become a blood donor please see the Pet Blood Bank website: