When adopting a new pet, one important item to have checked off your list is having them dewormed. Puppies and kittens are susceptible to intestinal parasites which can include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Deworming your pet will assist in the prevention of illnesses caused by these intestinal parasites.
Recently, a six week-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy by the name of Bobby Bell (B.B. for short) presented to our emergency department for lethargy, pale gums, vomiting, and diarrhea. After a brief exam, fecal exam, and blood work were complete, it was quickly determined that Bobby Bell was anemic due to hookworm and roundworm infestation. Cameo Carbone, DVM determined that the anemia (low red blood cell count) was most likely due to gastrointestinal blood loss due to the parasite infestation. Bobby Bell’s owners and Dr. Carbone decided the best course of action to begin treatment would be to administer a blood transfusion.
Tricia Kaoihana, CVT, VTS (SAIM), Assistant Clinical Supervisor for the Blood Bank stated, “Giving the blood transfusion to Bobby Bell allowed her body time to recuperate by replacing some of the red blood cells that had been lost through the GI tract. Blood is vital in transporting the nutrients and oxygen that help maintain normal organ function. The transfusion provided the time needed to treat the parasites with medication.”
Fortunately, one of our canine blood donors was able to donate 15mL of whole blood. The transfusion was administered over the course of two hours to assist Bobby Bell in her recovery. Once she successfully received the blood transfusion and treatment for the intestinal parasites, she quickly started bouncing back to her normal playful self! Following BB’s treatment, it was strongly advised that she have a recheck exam in two to three days for a repeat red blood cell count and in seven days for her second dose of dewormer. The first dose of dewormer kills the parasites that are currently present in the body, while the second dose will kill the parasites that are going to hatch in the upcoming weeks. More often than not, a doctor may recommend additional dosages or dewormer to ensure all parasites are killed.
Bobby Bell’s owners are excited to update us that she is doing great! Her family says she is a miracle baby since at just two days old she had to be bottle-fed. But as you can see, she has fought very hard to stay in this world!
It is imperative that when a dog has received a blood transfusion, veterinarians seen in the future are made aware. Antibodies to blood can develop in as little as 72-hours following a transfusion. For this reason, care must be taken when administering future transfusions due to an increased chance of reaction.
It is common for puppies to receive their first set of vaccines and deworming between 6-8 weeks. Following these vaccines, the puppy should receive their second set at 11-12 weeks along with a fecal test. The third set of vaccines is typically given at 15-16 weeks which also includes the rabies vaccination. By six months of age, the puppy can be spayed or neutered, microchipped, and tested for heartworm. Then finally, at one years old, the puppy can begin receiving their yearly wellness exams along with their three-year rabies vaccination and the additional vaccines, including the leptospirosis, bordetella, and distemper/parvo vaccines. Keeping current with vaccines and annual physical exams allows early detection of disease and/or infection.