A GERMAN Shepherd has been hailed a hero after coming to the rescue to save the life of another seriously ill dog from Llantwit Major.
Orrin donated a pint of blood in a desperate attempt to save Mabel, a cockapoo, who was clinging to life after collapsing within hours of giving birth to seven puppies.
The team at Valley Veterinary Hospital in Gwaelod-y-garth, near Cardiff, worked round the clock to save Mabel, who underwent emergency surgery after suffering a ruptured uterus and going into septic shock.
There were fears the four-year-old would have to be put to sleep, but vet Nia Martin, who works in the hospital’s emergency out-of-hours team, battled through the night with a team of vets and nurses to save her.
It then became apparent that Mabel needed a blood transfusion because of sepsis and they contacted Orrin’s owner, Mandy Stone, as he is on a list of doggy donors.
Mandy rushed Orrin to the hospital to give precious blood that saved Mabel’s life and put her on the road to recovery – to the relief of her owner Lisa Gaze, who ended up having to hand rear the litter of puppies because Mabel was too weak.
The drama happened in January 2020 and Mabel and Orrin have now joined forces to help raise awareness of the importance of dogs donating blood to help fellow canines that are seriously ill or have been involved in accidents.
Valley Veterinary Hospital is hosting the first ever blood donor session for dogs to be held in Wales on Sunday 23rd May. The Pet Blood Bank, a charity that provides blood for all veterinary practices across the UK, will run the session.
Ms Gaze, who lives in Llantwit Major, said: “If it hadn’t been for the marvellous Orrin and the care and expertise of Nia, who worked through the night to save her, I would have lost Mabel. They called for Orrin when he was desperately needed to save a life of another dog.
“I was expecting the worst but Mabel astounded everybody by the amazing recovery she made after receiving blood from Orrin.
“I have had dogs all my life but, like many people, I had absolutely no idea that dogs could be blood donors and that blood transfusions could be carried out. It is so important that dogs donate blood because you just never know when it will be urgently needed to save a life.”
Orrin, who is seven and enjoys obedience training classes with his owner, is the latest in a long line of dogs owned by Mandy that have been blood donors as she saw the importance of having a ready supply of blood when she worked at Valley Vets 20 years ago as a pet ambulance driver.
Mandy, who lives in Abercynon, said: “I’ve seen the good that canine blood donors can do because I’ve seen unconscious dogs come back from the brink of death on many occasions.
“Orrin is a perfect donor as he is a very gentle soul with the right temperament to be able to do this. He isn’t frightened going to the vets and they need to be resilient enough to sit still for 10 minutes to have the blood taken. He is big so they can take half a litre of blood and it won’t affect him.
“He has a wonderful time when he goes into Valley Veterinary Hospital as he gets lots of treats and cuddles so owners shouldn’t worry about allowing their dogs to become donors.”
To become a blood donor, dogs need to meet certain criteria:
- Aged over one
- Weigh over 25 kilos
- Be fully vaccinated
- Not travelled abroad
- Not on medication
Veterinary nurse Lauren Valentine, who works in the Valley Veterinary Hospital emergency out-of-hours team, is the phlebotomist running the donor session as part of the Pet Blood Bank team.
She said: “We perform blood transfusions at the hospital fairly frequently so having access to blood products is essential and that is why the Pet Blood Bank’s work is so important. Our patients need blood for all kinds of conditions from acute or chronic anaemia to severe blood loss they may have suffered in a road traffic accidents or complicated surgery.
“The blood taken by the Pet Blood Bank will be taken to their centre in Loughborough for processing and testing, before it is sent to practices all over the UK to be used in blood transfusions.”
Some 17 dog owners have already enrolled their pets for the donor session. To register contact visit https://www.petbloodbankuk.org/pet-owners/dog-blood-donation/register-your-dog/ or you can call the Pet Blood Bank on 01509 232 222.