Dying pet dog saved after transfusion from pet blood bank at Washington vet

A dog who was on the verge of death after contracting a bug made a miraculous recovery following a blood transfusion- and now his owner is raising awareness.

Black labrador Dexter fell ill on June 23 after his owners noticed he passed bloody diarrhoea and became extremely lethargic to the point of collapse.

He was rushed to a veterinary clinic in Washington,Sunderland, and was then transferred to an out-of-hours vet hospital where Dexter received a blood transfusion.

His owner Iona Harries, 30, from Durham, said the transfusion helped Dexter “turn a corner” and is now urging others to look into donating their pet’s blood to help save critically ill pets.

Iona, a midwife, explained how Dexter’s condition had worsened over just one day.

Iona Harries with Dexter
Iona Harries with Dexter

She said: “We noticed there was blood coming from his back passage and I just thought this is not right at all so we rushed him to the vets.

“He just went downhill really rapidly. I had to carry him to the vets because he could barely stand up and because of Covid-19, we had to leave him at the door which was really hard.

“I was absolutely broken, he’s my baby. I think because I’m quite medical I can see a bit about what’s going on and I knew it was bad. It was just awful seeing him like that.

“I just remember thinking this can’t happen, this is not happening and we just had to put our faith in the vets.”

Dexter was taken to Vets 4 Pets in Washington at 6.15pm where they carried out several examinations and set up a drip.

His heart rate and temperature were both elevated and he passed a lot of bloody diarrhoea which Iona said was extremely “worrying.”

Tests also showed the poor lab had a blood level of 70 per cent which should be around 35-40 per cent in a normal labrador.

Dexter at the vets
Dexter at the vets

Iona continued: “We got a phone call from the vets who said: ‘I’m really sorry but we think Dexter is going to go into septic shock.’ His condition was just spiralling out of control and we didn’t know whether he’d be coming home.”

It was suspected he had a very nasty infection but vets were unable to find the definitive cause and sent a sample to a lab.

But poor Dexter’s condition continued to deteriorate and he was transferred to out of hours providers Vets Now in Gateshead who have vets working around-the-clock caring for critically ill pets.

Dexter had a plasma transfusion which was provided by Pet Blood Bank UK from a donation by a healthy dog in the early hours of the morning and almost instantly began to recover.

He stayed in for the next three days and was eventually allowed back home where he is back eating and is responding well to his medication.

Analysis of Dexter’s sample confirmed that he had a bug called Campylobacter Lari and, although this might not be the whole answer it may well have contributed.

Iona said: “He had the best possible care, I can’t thank both of the vets enough they were just amazing.

“We don’t have children so our dogs, they are our children, they’re our world.

“Not knowing whether he was going to make it was just absolutely awful.”

Dexter with his siblings Mika and Nellie
Dexter with his siblings Mika and Nellie

But Iona, who has two other rescue dogs, is convinced that if Dexter had not of had the blood transfusion, he would not be here today.

She said: “The blood transfusion 100 per cent saved him. As soon as he had it the vets said he picked up straight away.

“We’re so grateful that Pet Blood Bank exists to provide what for him, was likely a life-saving transfusion.

“I just think a lot of people don’t know about it but it’s vital when really ill dogs can be saved. We just really want to raise awareness of it, it’s so important and one donation can save four dogs.”

If you have a dog between 1-8 years old, fit and well that loves people, please consider letting them donate.

There are a few donation venues in the North East available – for more information or to sign up go to https://www.petbloodbankuk.org/

Chronicle Live – Sunderland