Harrietâ€™s story â€“ An incredible tale of survival
Harriet, the gorgeous Newfoundland, is a Perth Vet Emergency legend. Her story is quite extraordinary and she is one very lucky girl with a loving family and plenty of gratitude for the blood donors who saved her life.
Harriet’s family came home on a Tuesday afternoon in 2015 and found her collapsed. She was rushed to her general practitioner who then arranged for her owners to transfer her to PVE for diagnostics and treatment. With forewarning, Harriet was rushed straight to the emergency room on arrival for immediate examination by Dr Jared Addison. Dr Addison found Harriet’s pulse was weak, her gums were very pale, and she was in hypovolaemic or haemorrhagic shock amongst other findings. In short, Harriet was in a bad way and Dr Addison had to respond very quickly in order to save her life.
Dr Addison discussed his findings with Harriet’s owners. Blood was taken for diagnostics and she was rushed straight to ultrasound in an effort to find the starting point to treat her ailment. The results presented a massive loss of blood to Harriet’s abdomen and her liver appeared enlarged. Immediate surgery was required to stop the bleeding.
During surgery, it was discovered that Harriet had a twisted liver. Her left medial liver lobe was twisted and there was significant haemorrhaging from the hepatic parenchyma as well as from the ruptured vessels at the hilus. Dr Addison removed the lobe to repair her liver. However by this stage, Harriet’s diagnostics showed she had lost a significant volume of blood during her ordeal – an extraordinary 6 litres. Blood transfusions were required to save this beautiful girl’s life.
It was almost midnight and the critical care team commenced calling those listed in the blood donor register to help save Harriet. In no time, the amazing team at Greyhound Angels WA enlisted the help of numerous foster carers and families with Greyhounds suitable for blood donations to save Harriet’s life.
Greyhound Angels of WA are a group of foster carers who find loving homes for Greyhounds. They work tirelessly to find responsible homes for Greyhounds who are no longer required for racing and the team at Perth Vet Emergency cannot thank them enough for their support over the years. The greyhounds in their care are found a loving home, or stay in foster care until the right family is found. Harriet owes her life to this remarkable organisation.
Over the next 72 hours, Harriet received a total of 4 litres of blood from 8 different donors. Most of the donors were beautiful Greyhounds being rehomed by Greyhound Angels WA. They felt no discomfort while giving the donations. Local anaesthetic was used on catheter sites while the donor was awake with no discomfort or stress. The PVE Team insures this by making the process as stress free as possible and the donor often indulges in the loving cuddles they receive from the veterinary nurses while the veterinarian performs the procedure. The blood is often removed via the jugular (neck vein) as this is a fast process and the donor finds this the most comfortable – they get to lie down, chill out, eat some treats, and lap up the cuddles.
Harriet and her family can’t thank the donors enough for saving her life. She required intensive care with Perth Vet Emergency for almost a week. During that time she made a remarkable recovery and was closely monitored by the critical care team who monitored her vital signs, comfort, and ensured she received plenty of TLC during her stay. Her strength, movement and appetite improved and her pain relief was reduced until she was deemed well enough to be discharged home to her family’s care.
On Monday evening, Harriet’s ecstatic family arrived at PVE to pick their gorgeous girl up. They had received regular updates, and had twice daily visits during her hospitalisation, so this appointment was a final formality to give them advice about her home care, veterinary check-ups and answer any questions they may have. In the meantime, the PVE critical care team showered her with kisses and cuddles as Harriet had found her way into everyone’s heart. Her ordeal was so significant, even her medical report celebrates her remarkable recovery with the statement “Hooray, Harriet is going home!”
While Harriet is clearly a PVE Legend, the real heroes in this ‘tail’ are the blood donors who took 15 minutes to save this precious girls life. We would like to take a moment to sincerely thank all the brave canines who have donated blood for PVE critical care patients. To those who donate blood to help save pet’s lives, just like Harriet, we are forever grateful.