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K-9 stabbing spurs dog blood donor curiosity

Updated: Thursday, January 30 2014, 09:31 PM EST

By Jennifer Black
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio
 
A disturbing story for dog lovers out of Pittsburgh this week, after a K-9 officer was stabbed while assisting in an arrest.
 
Thursday morning, Rocco was resting after undergoing two surgeries, and receiving blood transfusions.  He is no longer in need of blood, but NEWS9 wanted to learn what would happen if a similar situation happened in the Ohio Valley, and what dogs make the best blood donor candidates.
 
Dr. Michael Martello at Steubenville Veterinary Hospital Inc. said transfusions are not all that common, but there are some instances where dogs might be in need of blood.
 
"They may have a bleeding tumor, splenic masses can bleed, and they can go through [a condition] where they lose red blood cells very rapidly.  These things can all drop the PCB down below 15 or so, which is where you start to think about the need to have a blood transfusion,” Dr. Martello said.
 
According to Martello, some smaller hospitals in Jefferson do not have the staff to execute transfusions, but he said they can stabilize the animal, try to stop the bleeding initially and get it somewhere that can help.
 
At the Steubenville Veterinary Hospital, they do not keep blood on hand, but they work with a referral center in Pittsburgh called Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center.
 
Meanwhile, in St. Clairsville, Ohio at New Horizon Animal Hospital, they have two greyhounds at their facility, and the dogs are universal donors.
 
The greyhounds, Jack and Demetrius, have assisted in about 24 canine transfusions in the last year at NHAH.  Doctors there tell NEWS9 that not all greyhounds are universal, but the breed does have a higher red blood cell volume, which makes them good candidates for being donors.
 
If you are curious about your pet’s eligibility,

“They would want to be tested for certain parasites, heartworms, brucellosis that could be transmitted in the blood,” Dr. Martello said.
 
While larger breeds typically make better donors, it is important to make sure the dog is healthy, and blood-typed so doctors know which dogs their blood will be compatible with.

Rocco, the K-9 officer in Pittsburgh, is currently in stable but critical condition, and is no longer in need of additional blood.

The man accused of stabbing the animal and an officer was one of Allegheny County’s most wanted fugitives because of warrants for probation violations and failing to register as a sex offender, and he is now facing a number of other charges.

K-9 stabbing spurs dog blood donor curiosity


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