January Pet of the Month

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 in Our Blog, Pet of the Month | 0 comments

Rafiki is a very sweet Mastiff mix puppy. He was adopted by his new Mom
after the rest of the litter was killed by a coyote. Somehow Rafiki had
survived in spite of a lot of blood loss and wounds. He came in for a
check-up because the swelling on his face did not appear to be improving and
his gums were pale. Dr. Forbes confirmed he was anemic due to the blood
loss from his injuries. The swelling was lanced in an attempt to drain an
abscess, but there wasn’t much drainage. The area continued to bleed, so
the drainage site had to be closed. He was sent home on an iron supplement
to help build up his Red Blood Cells and was continued on his antibiotics.

Rafiki recovered well, anemia improved, and he began is vaccine series. He
returned two weeks later for suture removal, but another swelling had
developed on the opposite side of his face after his antibiotics were
finished. It was suspected that there could be an abscess developing from
his old wounds, so Dr. Sappington sedated him and lanced and flushed the
area leaving it open to drain. His wounds were bandaged and he was sent
home on antibiotics. Dr. Sappington had concerns for a bleeding disorder, so
the owners were instructed to monitor him closely.
That evening Rafiki continued to bleed, soaking through his bandages. He
was taken to the University where he was tested for coagulation
(clotting) disorders and received a blood transfusion due to his ongoing
losses. It was discovered that Rafiki has Hemophilia A.
Hemophilia A is a genetic disorder characterized by a missing or defective
clotting protein, specifically Factor VIII. This protein is required to
stop bleeding in the body, so when it is defective or deficient, what would
be a minor bleed and stop quickly in a healthy animal, can turn into a life
threatening bleed in Rafiki. It will not be safe for Rafiki to wrestle and
play like a “typical” dog because the hard bumps and mouthing can result in
severe bleeds. Fortunately Rafiki has dedicated owners who are doing
everything they can to provide him with a safe, but fulfilling life. He has
special shoes on the way to protect his feet when he goes outside from
sticks and rocks and other things that would not affect most other dogs.
Special precautions will be needed any time he needs to have surgery,
including when he is neutered. This will include transfusions with clotting
While Rafiki’s condition is very serious, having dedicated owners who are
aware of the special precautions that need to be made will give him chance
to live a quality life. He scored big with his adoption and as sweet as
Rafiki is, they did too. 🙂

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