This is the very lovely Vinnie, he’s a 12 year old Lurcher and has won the
Castle Vets Pet Of The Month award.
Vinnie came to Castle Vets to see vet David Terry in early March. Vinnie had become lame and very painful over his hips and hind legs and he had been losing weight rapidly, so an investigation was started to try and diagnose Vinnie’s problem.
Vinnie’s X-ray showed that he had developed an Osteosarcoma, a type of cancerous tumour that destroys existing normal bone, makes abnormal new bone and one that can spread very quickly to other parts of the body. The tumour was so painful that Vinnie was responding to his leg being touched even while he was under a general anaesthetic! Thankfully a further chest X-ray and an Ultrasound scan showed us that the cancer had not yet spread to any of Vinnies internal organs.
Vinnie needed to have his leg amputated to remove the painful tumour and try to prevent further spread of the cancer to other parts of his body. Thankfully, the amputation operation went really well and Vinnie was placed in a recovery kennel and closely monitored by a nurse while he came round from his anaesthetic.
6 hours after his operation Vinnie started bleeding profusely from his wound and pressure dressings did not help stem the flow. Vinnie needed an emergency operation so that David Terry could locate the bleeding blood vessel and tie it off but, to David’s surprise, the bleeding was coming from Vinnie’s muscle and soft tissues and not his blood vessels (despite Vinnie’s blood clotting factors being within the normal limits). The wound was closed and pressure dressings applied but nothing was helping and Vinnie was in a dire situation with his blood levels dropping rapidly. Pet Blood Bank were contacted and were able to supply some cross matched blood and plasma – Vinnie needed 6 blood transfusions and 10 days of around-the-clock intensive nursing care until the bleeding had stopped and he was getting better.
The bleeding problem was due to Vinnie’s Greyhound DNA. Greyhounds have been designed and bred over the centuries to be speed machines and to achieve this, they need to be able to pump blood around their bodies faster and at a higher pressure than other dogs. Their blood has more red blood cells to allow it to carry more oxygen around the body, which also means that their blood is thicker and that they have larger arteries and hearts than other breeds. All of this allows the Greyhounds massive muscles to produce the explosive speeds for which they have been bred for.
With their thicker and faster moving blood, Greyhounds experience more cell damage and form more micro-clots in their blood vessels than other breeds and because of this they have a system which also breaks down these clots quickly to prevent them causing problems. In a small percentage of Greyhounds (and greyhound-types such as Lurchers and Deerhounds), it is this system that occasionally goes into overdrive following surgery causing the excessive bleeding that Vinnie experienced.
Thankfully Vinnie is now well on his way to recovery and doing brilliantly, which is a huge relief to his owners and the staff at Castle Vets who had got quite attached to him during his stay.
Pet Blood Bank
Pet Blood Bank UK is the only charity that provides a blood bank service for all veterinary practices across the UK. Similar to the human blood service, dog owners kindly take their much loved canine companions to give blood at one of the regular donation sessions. The blood is then separated into red blood cells and plasma products, and then stored ready for despatch to veterinary practices.
They always need more blood donors, but your dog must meet the following criteria
- Be fit and healthy and not on any medication
- Aged between 1 and 8 years old
- Weigh more than 25kg
- Have a good temperament and be willing to be restrained for 5-15 minutes
- Have never travelled abroad
- Be fully vaccinated
For more information or to register your dog as a donor, please visit Pet Blood Bank Uk