How Senna the dog was saved by Lottie’s canine blood transfusion

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Saved by a real hunting dog: how Senna the dog was within hours of death when Lottie came to the rescue with a transfusion

  • Senna the dog was within hours of his death and vets tried one last treatment
  • The vizsla suffered from a rare blood disease which was not eliminated by drugs
  • Treatment took place at the Royal Veterinary College for Animals in Hertfordshire

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His eyes might be bright and alert now, but Senna was only hours from death after being diagnosed with a rare blood disease.

The vets had tried everything from antibiotics to eye drops to stop his decline, except for one last treatment – a real hunting dog.

Thanks to a blood donation from Lottie, Senna received a transfusion that “restarted” his immune system – and saved his life.

Senna the vizsla, left, suffered from an incredibly rare blood disease and required a blood transfusion from Lottie the Airedale Terrier, right, as part of a pioneering treatment

The Wire-haired Vizsla and Airedale Terrier first met this week, and after a good sniff, hit it off.

The Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire, where the transfusion took place, brought them together to raise awareness about vital canine blood banks.

During the pandemic, donations fell 40%, which could hamper vets who perform thousands of complex procedures each year.

Senna owner Debbie McKeown, 58, said: “Lottie’s blood breathed new life into Senna. It was wonderful to meet her.

The vets had tried everything from antibiotics to eye drops to stop Senna's decline, except for one final treatment they used with the animal just hours after death.

The vets had tried everything from antibiotics to eye drops to stop Senna’s decline, except for one final treatment they used with the animal just hours after death.

The travel consultant and her engineer husband Paul, 57, realized Senna was sick two years ago. She suffered from immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, which causes a dog’s immune system to destroy red blood cells, leading to organ failure.

“She had become totally lethargic. It was horrible to watch, ”said Ms McKeown, of Ware, Hertfordshire. Senna was estimated to be 12 hours from death when the emergency transfusion took place.

Ms McKeown said: ‘We took her for the operation during the pandemic so we had to leave her at the door. It was traumatic. I didn’t know if we would see her again.

Lottie’s owner Angela Jarman is a blood donor herself and offered her pet when she heard about the need for canine blood. Airedales are one of the breeds with a DEA 1 negative blood group that can be given to all dogs.

The Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire, where the transfusion took place, brought them together to raise awareness about vital canine blood banks

The Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire, where the transfusion took place, brought them together to raise awareness about vital canine blood banks

Lottie has now donated blood six times and wears a red bandana to show that she is a registered donor.

Ms Jarman, 50, a glass artist who lives with her climbing instructor husband Paul, 50, and their daughter Flora, 10, in Welwyn Garden City, said: “Lottie loves to donate blood. we’re going to make a big deal out of it.

“It only takes about 40 minutes and the dogs can’t smell a thing. She has a bandage around her neck where the blood was taken and a bowl of sausage for treats.

Donor dogs typically weigh over 20 kg and can donate every two months until they are eight years old.


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