Blood Transfusion saves puppy’s life

Published 9:11 am Monday, June 6, 2022

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In the medical field, not every story has a happy ending, especially when it comes to animals. Thankfully, Bryan Hight Veterinary office was able to give one pet owner such a happy ending last week, performing a life-saving blood transfusion on a puppy.

The puppy, now named Groot, was brought in for treatment by Sean Harvey last Monday. One of a litter of six, Groot was diagnosed with a severe hookworm infestation, which Dr. Amber Love believes is what claimed the lives of his siblings. Hookworms are intestinal parasites that feed on the host’s blood. After being dewormed on Monday, Groot was brought back in for a follow-up treatment the next day, appearing severely anemic from the infestation.

“He came back on Tuesday when I was there,” Dr. Love said. “That’s when I noticed he just really needed a blood transfusion.”

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Thankfully, there was no need to find a pet owner willing to donate their dog’s blood, as Hank, Dr. Love’s Jack Russell terrier, was present at the office.

But what about the issue of blood compatibility, with Hank being a Jack Russell and Groot believed by the vets to be a lab mix? When it comes to animals, Love explained, there’s not as much concern over blood types or specific breeds when performing transfusions; at least, not the first time.

“The first time, there’s no problem doing a blood transfusion,” she said. “Usually if you have to do it more than once, that’s when we start worrying about, ‘We need a cross-type, and match’, all of that stuff.” The only thing Love said she checks for on the first transfusion is if the donor is disease-free and healthy. With such a small recipient, only 35 CCs of Hank’s blood was needed for the transfusion.

“That case is exactly why I got into veterinary medicine,” Love said. “It shows what I do every day, and why I do what I do. Saving that puppy’s life, the clients are beyond grateful, and I love seeing that. That is exactly why I get up and go to work every day.”

“Groot kind of just pulled at all of our heart strings,” said office manager Pasilie Lee, who assisted with the transfusion. “Like Dr. Love said, that is the reason we all got into veterinary medicine.”