DONOR STORY by Molly – about how her two dogs went from venerable and in-need, to becoming regular saviours for critically ill dogs.
I’m lucky enough to be working my dream job as a vet nurse in the NT, so it’s fantastic to have my dogs at home who can help out at work in times of immediate need!
Brick is my two-year-old, 30-kilogram male mixed breed. We think he is a Wolfhound cross but really, who knows! He’s made two donations in his life so far.
I also have Auroura, a 44-kilogram girl who’s just retired from giving blood donations due to her age. She has made eight donations since I’ve had her (which is now three years!).
I got both of my babies through rescue. Aurora came to me while I was working as a sole veterinary nurse. I guess she would be a Mastiff mix, but again I don’t know for sure! She came in to the clinic from the local pound with a litter of 10 three-week-old puppies. She was severely emaciated weighing in at only 34-kilos. Over the course of eight months I worked hard to get her to a healthy weight and socialise her. She clearly recovered and is now the best dog I’ve ever owned! Aurora’s first donation was for a puppy that came from a rural indigenous community that had such a severe Hookworm burden, his PCV was 6%. (EDITORS NOTE- The PCV is the packed cell volume which describes the red blood cell count. A normal range for a dog is 35 – 55 %) We took only 60 mils from Aurora and she sat like a champion. From that moment, she continued to donate blood when needed until six weeks ago when she turned seven years old and we retired her.
Brick was surrendered to rescue at a teeny three-days-old with his litter mates. He was bottle raised by a friend of mine until he was eight-weeks-old. His first blood donation was for a dog that had a horrendous bleeding splenic tumour, we gave the patient a transfusion prior to emergency surgery. Thankfully the splenic tumour was successfully removed and the patient made a full recovery! Brick’s second donation was for a Kelpie who has an auto-immune disease that causes her body to attack her own red blood cells. Since she received the transfusion she is also doing well!
Unfortunately where I am, as is the case in many places across Australia, we don’t have a blood bank nearby. To make it even harder for us we also don’t have any way to order in blood… we rely purely on donors! Having a blood transfusion is often a matter of life and death, so having a register of pets that we can call on in an emergency is critical! Every time one of my animals donates it’s an incredibly proud moment to think that something so simple can save a life.
Most of our blood donors also lap up all the attention and particularly love their “donor teddies”! They get to choose a teddy from our clinic’s collection as a cuddle buddy while they receive their post donation fluids and snack. The rest of the staff at work love having my “BLOOD Hounds” come in, and it’s awesome to have the owners of patients meet the dogs that potentially saved their pets lives!