Labradors Harvey and Barney give the gift of life to terrier Beth who was ill with lungworm
Meet Harvey and Barney, the two rescued Labrador Retrievers who saved the life of a dog hundreds of miles away – by being blood donors.
Harvey had to be rehomed after failing to make the grade as a guide dog. Barney needed a new home after his previous owner couldn’t care for him.
But, along with our amazing emergency vets, they saved the life of a Patterdale terrier called Beth who was struck down with potentially fatal lungworm.
Beth needed three separate blood transfusions to fight off the condition over three days in the Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Glasgow.
Now Beth’s owner Jasmine Gove has sent a heartfelt message of thanks to Harvey’s owner Anthony Bradley and Barney’s owner Catherine Stevens — as well as the vets whose skill and professionalism saved Beth’s life.
Jasmine, 27, a hospital staff nurse, said: “I am just so grateful to Anthony and Catherine, to the emergency vets at Vets Now and my daytime practice Ivybank Vets, and also to Pet Blood Bank UK, which does such an amazing job.
“Without the blood from Barney and Harvey, we might have lost Beth and that just doesn’t bear thinking about. Beth’s my little shadow. She follows me everywhere. I’d be totally lost without her. She’s like a member of the family.”
Jasmine lives in Irvine, North Ayrshire. Anthony lives 200 miles away in Preston, Lancashire, and Catherine lives even further afield in Dormansland, Surrey.
But thanks to Pet Blood Bank UK, a charity which operates in a similar way to the National Blood Transfusion Service, vital blood from Anthony and Catherine’s dogs was couriered urgently to Glasgow to be used by the staff at Vets Now who were caring for Beth.
Jasmine added: “It’s incredible to think that Beth owes her life to two dogs and their very kind owners who we’ve never met. It’s very humbling and it just goes to show the importance of your pet giving blood if they can.”
Donor dog owners Catherine and Anthony were delighted to hear how their beloved pets had helped save Beth’s life.
Catherine said: “I know every dog owner thinks their dog is special – but Barney really is. He’s totally full of life – but very calm when he gives blood. Not all dogs are calm enough to be a donor — but Barney manages it. We’ve been telling him he’s a superhero and I swear his ego has gone through the roof.”
And when Barney isn’t saving other dog’s lives, he helps children to read through an innovative programme called Read2Dogs run by the charity Pets As Therapy.
The scheme sees Barney and other suitably trained dogs going into schools to sit with children who are nervous about reading aloud.
Catherine said: “Barney’s just one of those dogs who likes being around people and likes helping people. He’s a lover, not a fighter! I’m so proud of him.”
Anthony added: “I didn’t know there was a national pet blood bank until I saw a poster for it when I was at my local vets and I thought to myself .. ‘We should sign Harvey up for that’.
“It’s brilliant to hear that his blood has come in so useful and it’s quite funny in a way that he’s become a life-saver – because he’s a very laid-back character.
“He never made it as a guide dog because he was apparently too scared of loud noises, even though things like thunder and fireworks don’t bother him at all.
“So it’s just great that he’s now been able to help someone else who was in need of some assistance.”
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Lungworm is a rare condition caused by a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and the blood vessels which supply the lungs.
It’s traditionally affected a disproportionate number of dogs in the south of England, but recently there has been a spike in cases in Scotland and the north of England.
Symptoms include unexplained bruising or bleeding, which is what Beth suffered.
Neus Elias-Santo Domingo Vets Now Glasgow Hospital Emergency Vet
“We’re so pleased Beth has made such a good recovery. She’s got a lovely nature and she was a real favourite of all the staff."
Jasmine said: “It started with bruising on her right leg and she was limping a bit. It was as though she’d had some kind of fall but I just couldn’t think of anything at all which could have caused it.
“We got her checked out at our local vets but at that stage the lungworm wasn’t showing up.
“Then after a while the bruising got much worse — it was down the whole of her stomach and it looked like she’d been attacked.
“We went back to the vets to get a blood test done and that’s when the lungworm came to light. The vets said we needed to get her to the Vets Now hospital straight away — so that’s what we did and we got her there just in time.
“She was in for three nights and she needed three separate blood transfusions. We were warned about various possible side effects of the treatment. But when we got her home she was bouncing about like not much had actually happened. She’s a very brave little dog.”
Neus Elias-Santo Domingo, an emergency vet at Vets Now in Glasgow, said Jasmine did the right thing by taking Beth to her local vet as soon as she spotted symptoms of lungworm.
She added: “We’re so pleased Beth has made such a good recovery. She’s got a lovely nature and she was a real favourite of all the staff.
“Lungworm can be serious, potentially even fatal, if left untreated. As was the case with Beth, it can cause blood clotting issues which results in increased bleeding and some dogs will need blood transfusions to counteract this.
“But the earlier the treatment, the better the prognosis and, thankfully, once diagnosed and treated, most dogs will recover fully from lungworm.”
The Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Glasgow — where Beth’s received treatment — is regarded as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the UK. It’s one of three Vets Now hospitals across the UK that are open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.
All of Vets Now’s 60 clinics and hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.