Jack Russell saved by vets after becoming critically ill

A mum has spoken of her relief after her dog became so ill he needed three blood transfusions to survive.

Lauren Staines has lived with Jack Russell, Taxi, since she was 18, even travelling around Europe with him, and she was worried sick when he suddenly became very lethargic.

Lauren, who is 26 and lives in Hook, Hampshire, along with her three-year-old son Max, thought his condition might be due to something he’d eaten, but later that day when he had difficulty walking she realised he needed urgent help.

She rushed Taxi to Vets Now in Farnham which provides out-of-hours emergency care for pets in the area. He was found to have a blood cell count of just 11 when it should have been around 40.

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“I looked at Taxi’s gums and they were just white. He looked really unhealthy and I knew that I had to get him to a vet and fast,” Lauren said. “The vet told me Taxi would need an emergency blood transfusion to survive the night.”

Unfortunately, there were no compatible blood supplies available nearby but a bag was sourced 30 miles away in Southampton, which Lauren picked up at 2 am. The transfusion helped stabilise Taxi only for his blood count to plummet again the next day.

Lauren said: “It felt like my entire world had come crashing down. Taxi comes everywhere with Max and me, he is my protection, my ultimate love and my best friend and all of sudden we were needing a miracle for him to survive.”

Vets carried out numerous tests on Taxi and there was no evidence of internal bleeding or jaundice. They eventually diagnosed severe anaemia and suspected severe haemolysis.

Senior vet Stephanie Timmons, who treated Taxi, said his prognosis was “grave” for much of the time he was in their care.

“Taxi was in a very bad way when he was admitted to Vets Now,” she explained. “We stabilised him and carried out a thorough investigation into why he was so ill and it became clear he needed steroids and an urgent blood transfusion.

“While the first transfusion was a success, his condition deteriorated again and we had to warn his owners to prepare for the worst. It was only after he was given a second and third transfusion that he began to perk up.

“It’s wonderful he’s now back to his old self and it shows what a fighter he is. Miss Staines is such a lovely lady and Taxi obviously meant the world to her. He was such a cool little dude. We were all very attached to him at the clinic and were really rooting for him.”

Image of Taxi the dog for Vets Now article on dog blood transfusion
Taxi was rushed to Vets Now in Farnham when he suddenly became very lethargic

Taxi was allowed home after two nights under close observation.

Lauren said: “When they said I could take Taxi home I was so happy. Max just burst into tears as soon as he saw him – he was so pleased to have his best friend back. He hasn’t wanted to leave Taxi’s side since.

“I can’t thank the staff at Vets Now enough. They were so kind and dedicated and kept me informed all the time.”

Because Lauren didn’t have pet insurance for Taxi she resorted to selling some of her valuables and setting up a GoFundMe page to pay for his treatment.

She said: “I was really worried about the cost, but I wasn’t prepared to let Taxi go. I was overwhelmed with the donations we got that included help from regulars at the Red Lion pub where I work.

“It was quite a rollercoaster, but it did show me how kind people can be. I was absolutely blown away by the response.”

Image of Taxi the dog for Vets Now article on dog blood transfusion
Lauren and her son Max are delighted to have Taxi back to his old self

The pet emergency clinic in Farnham – where Taxi received treatment – is one of a nationwide network of Vets Now clinics and hospitals that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.