It was a happy ‘tail’ at a Cambridgeshire animal hospital when a young Cockapoo who needed an emergency blood transfusion was introduced to the blood donor dog who saved her life.

Three-year-old Mia was rushed to Linnaeus-owned Dick White Referrals (DWR) in Six Mile Bottom, near Cambridge, in June last year with massive blood loss from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage, when a brave Australian Shepherd called Joy came to her rescue.

Six-year-old Joy is a dog blood donor, ready at short notice to donate blood to canines in need like Mia.

And tails were wagging when the two were introduced for the first time following the life-saving procedure.

Joy’s owner Louise Fuller, from Clare in Suffolk, said: “It is fantastic news that my lovely Joy helped to save a young dog’s life and that they were able to meet. I used to work at Dick White Referrals, so I knew of the demand for dog blood donors and how important they are.

“It’s a lovely outcome and I would definitely recommend that if owners are able to offer their dog’s help with a blood donation, they get involved by becoming a donor.”

Although Mia has now made an excellent recovery, it was touch and go at the time of the medical emergency. She was unconscious and barely breathing when admitted to DWR and was rushed to the intensive care unit. 

Her haemorrhaging had been caused by immune mediated thrombocytopenia (IMTP), a condition which can cause spontaneous bleeding.

Mia needed a massive transfusion, which meant using blood in storage as well as calling in Joy for further blood supplies. After the transfusion, she stayed at DWR for care from its team of nurses for a week.

Since being discharged she has had regular appointments at DWR to treat her IMTP, and has responded well.

Mia’s grateful owner Marie-Claude Crossley, from Tugby in Leicestershire, said: “Mia had been very lethargic, so we took her to a local vet who kept her in overnight. However, her situation deteriorated and we were advised to take her to Dick White Referrals straight away.

“When we arrived she collapsed and was rushed straight in. She needed three blood transfusions in total, one being from Joy.

“Myself and my husband Nick couldn’t have been happier with how the team saved Mia’s life, as it was such a scary time and happened so quickly. We can’t thank them enough.”

Emily Thomas, a specialist in emergency and critical care at DWR, said: “Joy was a total life saver and Mia would not have survived without her. After the transfusion Mia went on to make a fantastic recovery and was discharged home looking as bright as a button, as if nothing had happened.”

To be eligible to be a canine blood donor, dogs must weigh more than 18kg, be aged between one and eight-years-old, and must not have travelled outside the UK or Ireland. 

They also need to be up-to-date with their annual vaccinations and regular flea and wormer treatment, as well as being comfortable and relaxed with people.

Dick White Referrals offers specialist-led care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, diagnostic pathology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, interventional radiology, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, physiotherapy and soft tissue surgery. 

To find out more about putting your dog forward to become a blood donor, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

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