Leaf is a happy, healthy young Tenterfield Terrier, who had been contentedly running around at home on his farm when his owner noticed an acute swelling around his neck. Leaf soon also became lethargic and not himself. Obviously concerned about what could have happened while Leaf was busy, out an about in the garden, Leaf’s owner brought him in to be assessed by the AdelaideVet team.
When he came to us, he presented with moderate neck swelling and seemed a bit painful, but at this point he was otherwise happy, stable, and still wagging his tail. He was admitted so we could do better assessment of the swelling under sedation.
It was noticed during this assessment that he had bruising inside his mouth and into his throat and a swollen tongue. This was a red flag to the veterinarian on duty who immediately arranged some blood tests, concerned something more serious was happening and Leaf would soon deteriorate. We were able to run Leaf’s bloods in-house ensuring we received his results back as quickly as possible. His results showed a significant elevation of clotting times, indicating that his blood was unable to clot adequately, causing the internal bleeding and swelling.
This is a classic sign of rat bait ingestion even though Leaf’s owner did not think he had access to any. We were also concerned about snake bite envenomation, but he was not showing any other typical signs (neurological changes and a sudden rapid deterioration). He had severe anaemia from the blood loss, which is common to see in dogs with prolonged clotting times.
The best way to stabilise Leaf was to perform a blood transfusion. We arranged a wonderful donor who belonged to one of our Veterinary Nurses, and in came Gary, a two and a half year old Bull Mastiff Cross, weighing in at 58.3 kgs! A small difference to Leaf’s petite 5.7kgs! Leaf got a whole blood transfusion from donor Gary and was immediately started on Vitamin K injections, which help to get the blood re-clotting appropriately again.
We are happy to say that Leaf responded very well to his treatment and continued to slowly improve over the time he was in hospital with us. He regained his usual energy and appetite and because he is such a resilient and tolerant dog, his dedicated owners were able to manage him with oral medications once he was discharged to go home.
He has been doing very well since and is back to his normal cheery self and we couldn’t be more pleased for him (and his worried owners)!