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  • Puppy problems: Eating rat bait.

    Posted on by Media

    We all know how naughty and curious puppies can be , but what happens when the extent of their curiosity threatens their health and wellbeing?

    Coco, a 9 month old cocker spaniel puppy, was admitted into our small animal hospital completely collapsed. She had a known history of eating rat bait.

    On examination vet Jen Calder found that Coco was pale and in shock, and a blood sample showed she had a very low red blood cell count and her blood was unable to clot.

    Rat bait uses up vitamin K which is an essential vitamin needed to produce clotting factors in the liver. Without it the blood can’t clot and the animal bleeds to death internally and through any wounds.

    Coco was placed on onintra-venous fluids and given vitamin K via injection. Her red blood cell count and vital parameters likepulse and respiration were monitored constantly.We were very worried about Coco.

    Once injections of vitamin K have been started we expect the body to start producing its own vitamin K within 12 hours. But Coco didn’t have 12 hours to wait- she was getting steadily worse, her red blood cell count was dropping hourly, and she was becoming less and less responsive. She needed an emergency blood transfusion. So the hunt for a blood donor started.Coco

    Luckily our nurse Rachael McKenzie volunteered her very brave  black Labrador Martha who very generously donated half a liter of blood. Coco was receiving Martha’s blood within an hour of the decision for giving a blood transfusion was made. This was not taken lightly as dogs can suffer from serious transfusion reactions.

    Coco had constant bedside monitoring to ensure that she was not going to have such a reaction. She started to improve within the first hour of her transfusion, the first sign of hope was a wagging tail when we said her name. Her red blood cell count had doubled by this time. Overnight she became brighter and brighter. 48 hours after the transfusion her vital signs and blood values had greatly improved and she was very bright so she was discharged with a three week course of vitamin K tablets.

    Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 14.44.17She had her final check up last week and a blood sample showed her blood was able to clot normally. In herself she was back to being a normal bouncy puppy. We were all thrilled.

    Coco would not have survived without her blood transfusion! We are always looking for dogs to be on our blood donor registry, to find out if your dog could be a blood donor hero please read