Jessie came to us with a rapid, progressive deterioration over a few days and had got worse so quickly that she couldn’t stand when she arrived at the practice. We checked her gums and noted they were a horrible pale, jaundiced, yellow colour. This led us to suspect that Jessie was suffering from a type of anaemia known as immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA). This is where the immune system attacks the body’s own red blood cells, causing them to burst and release their red pigment which then breaks down to produce the yellow jaundice colour. Blood tests confirmed this was what was happening to Jessie.
Initially Jessie’s packed cell volume (PCV), which is the percentage of her blood made up of red blood cells, was 14% but the following day had fallen to 8%. Normally dogs should have a PCV of 45-50% so 8% is dangerously low and many dogs will die at this level. We ordered blood from Pet Blood Bank UK and within a short time it arrived via courier. We gave Jessie a blood transfusion to help give her body a chance to fight back. And it did! Jessie’s response to the blood transfusion and subsequent on-going medication was remarkable. She is once again back to her normal self!
IMHA is an extremely serious and deadly condition with fatality rates of around 50%. Many of you will know Hamish’s own dog died from a recurrence of this condition despite receiving three blood transfusions to try and save her.
Pet Blood Bank UK are an amazing, national charitable organisation which we support by providing the practice three times a year as a canine ‘blood drive centre’ for the charity. They are based not too far away, in Loughborough, and on this occasion we were very grateful to be able to take advantage of the hugely valuable service they offer. Quite literally life-saving.