house calls

Life-saving donor

By JOSEPH A. D'ABBRACCIO, D.V.M.
Posted 9/9/20

Illness does not take a holiday. Illness does not plan to come when it is convenient for the patient, the nurse, or the doctor. Physicians as well as veterinarians must accept that while our …

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house calls

Life-saving donor

Posted

Illness does not take a holiday. Illness does not plan to come when it is convenient for the patient, the nurse, or the doctor. Physicians as well as veterinarians must accept that while our day’s schedule could look routine, that routine day can dramatically change at a moment’s notice. This past week, that was clear.

Tuesday looked to be a normal day for me that included a number of house calls. I started my day with a house call to see several cats, followed by examining a camel that was having some unplanned weight loss; then I visited a horse and donkey for physical checkups. I was supposed to continue on to more house calls, however, I was contacted by one of my fellow veterinarians that there was a dog at the hospital that was quite ill. The patient, Bailey, was brought to Catskill Veterinary Services by her owner after not feeling well in the morning and having a lot less energy than normal. Catskill Veterinary Services co-owner Dr. Daniela Carbone was the attending veterinarian and found that Bailey was gravely ill.

After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Daniela confirmed that Bailey was actively bleeding into her abdominal cavity. The cause of that blood was a tumor on her spleen. Upon discovery of the tumor and the blood in the abdomen, Bailey’s condition was then upgraded to emergent as she had a tremendous amount of blood in her abdomen. She was quite literally bleeding to death before our eyes. The only options moving forward were to perform an emergency blood transfusion and taking Bailey to emergency surgery.

Fortunately, we have a blood donor program at Catskill Veterinary Services and we were able to call in one of our donor dogs. This time it happened to be one of my personal dogs, Nina. Nina was picked up by one of my hospital staff members as I had to remain at the clinic preparing to take Bailey to emergency surgery.

The actual blood donation in dogs is very similar to blood donation in humans. Dogs have at least six well characterized blood types, also known as dog erythrocyte antigens (DEA). The antigens are DEA 1.1,1.2, 3, 4, 5 and 7. The blood type considered most important in dogs is DEA 1.1. Dogs that are negative for DEA 1.1 can give blood to dogs that are DEA 1.1 negative or positive, but dogs that are DEA 1.1 positive can only give blood safely to dogs that are DEA 1.1 positive. Dogs that are negative for DEA 1.1 and the majority of other blood types are considered “universal” blood donors.

Bailey’s surgery went very well and the blood transfusion began during the post-surgical period. Prior to surgery, Bailey’s blood percentage was at 25 percent and after the surgery the blood percentage was 15 percent, a critically low number. A normal health dog has a blood percentage of greater than 45 percent. Bailey did suffer a bout of pneumonia after the surgery, which extended her hospital stay. However, following that mild detour in her recovery, she did quite well after the surgery.

Most certainly without the emergency surgery and the blood donation from Nina, Bailey would have not lived to see the next morning. Thankfully, Nina was available to provide the live saving blood to help her new friend, Bailey.

If you would like to have your dog join our donor program, please email drjoe@catskillvetservices.com to inquire.

Catskill Veterinary Services, PLLC

www.facebook.com/CatskillVeterinaryServices

www.catskillvetservices.com

drjoe@catskillvetservices.com

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