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Northumberland rescue dog who nearly died from random wound is saved by blood transfusions

A rescue dog from Northumberland nearly died after a random wound suddenly appeared on his body – but was saved by two blood transfusions. Teddy, a four-year-old crossbreed, developed a condition that stopped his blood from clotting.

The condition left him bleeding from a wound that suddenly appeared on his back and from his mouth and he started passing bloody diarrhoea. His owner Helen Edwards, who lives in Heddon-on-the-Wall, rushed Teddy to Westway Veterinary Group’s main hospital in West Road, Newcastle.

Teddy was admitted as an emergency during Westway’s out-of-hours service after vets found Teddy’s blood was not clotting due to Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMTP). The condition causes the body’s immune system, which normally fights infection and disease, to damage and destroy its own platelets.

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It was also discovered that Teddy was bleeding internally and there were fears he wouldn’t survive. Vets gave Teddy his first blood transfusion, as well as steroids and chemotherapy until his body began to fight back.

However, he then required another transfusion two days later after he began bleeding again. In total, I have received a pint-and-a-half of blood from two dogs called into the practice to act as donors.



Owner Helen Edwards, who lives in Heddon-on-the-Wall, pictured with Teddy and vet Carey Taberner, who runs Westway Vets in Corbridge

The blood transfusions saved Teddy’s life, and now 18 months later, Helen has appealed to other owners to bring their pets along to a blood donor day being hosted at Westway Vets in Corbridge. The Pet Blood Bank – the only charity that provides a blood bank service to veterinary practices across the UK – is holding a donor session at the surgery in St Helen’s Street on May 8.

The blood will be stored by the Pet Blood Bank and used for transfusions to help stricken dogs suffering from a range of conditions, from anemia to severe blood loss they may have suffered in an accident or during complicated surgery. Helen said she has a debt of gratitude to the owners whose pets she donated and urged anyone to consider their dog as a donor.

Helen said: “Teddy is very special to us and it’s heartbreaking to think that without a donor he would have died. We actually went into the veterinary hospital to say goodbye to him because everyone thought he wouldn’t survive. We were so lucky that on both occasions he needed a blood transfusion, Westway Vets were able to find people willing to let their dogs donate blood, otherwise he would not be here.

“What happened to him was very scary but he is no longer on medication and is now back to where he was before this happened, so we have been very fortunate. The vets at Westway Vets in Corbridge keep a close eye on him in case he relapses.

“Because of the amazing treatment Teddy received, I would encourage other dog owners to come forward and register their pet as a donor. They could end up saving another dog’s life.”

Westway Vets in Corbridge hosts regular donor days for the Pet Blood Bank and is inviting owners to register their dogs to give blood. The blood taken by the Pet Blood Bank is taken to its center in Loughborough for processing and testing before it is sent to practices all over the UK to be used in blood transfusions.

Vet Carey Taberner said: “It is safe for dogs to donate blood, although they have to be the right temperament and meet certain criteria. There is always a need for blood for emergency cases, such as Teddy. Having a transfusion undoubtedly saved his life .”

To become a blood donor, dogs need to meet the following criteria:

  • fit and healthy
  • Between one and eight years old
  • Weight more than 25 kilos
  • Be fully vaccinated
  • have a good temperament
  • Not traveled abroad
  • Not on any medication

To register your dog, call Westway Vets in Corbridge on 01434 632033.

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