An award-winning Yorkshire animal hospital has performed a rare blood transfusion to save the life of a 10-year-old cocker spaniel. 

Much-loved Harvey was rushed to Linnaeus-owned Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield after suddenly becoming very lethargic, while also passing dark stools and showing signs of bruising on the skin of his abdomen. 

In order to save Harvey’s life, Paragon performed its very first platelet concentrate transfusion with support from Pet Blood Bank, a nationwide blood service charity for pets. 

It transpired Harvey had moderate anaemia and severe thrombocytopenia (very low platelet numbers) as he had developed a condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys the platelets. In a lot of dogs, like Harvey, the trigger is unknown.

Platelets are required for blood clotting, which explained the bleeding into Harvey’s stomach and the bruising of the skin. 

While platelet transfusions don’t supply enough platelets to significantly increase the blood platelet numbers, they are crucial in the early stages of treatment to stem the bleeding, reducing the need for multiple blood transfusions and speeding up recovery.  

Harvey’s owner, Julie Wright from Calverton near Nottingham, said: “Harvey rapidly went downhill the previous evening, so we took him to our local practice, Minster Vets, who diagnosed the severity of illness, what was required to stabilise him and organised for him to be transferred to Paragon. 

“We were in shock at the time as we knew something wasn’t right but we had no idea how critical he was. Paragon prepared us for possibilities and asked us about resuscitation direction, that was when we realised how serious it was. 

“However, both Minster and Paragon have been amazing and following the platelet transfusion Harvey is back to full health. He has gone back to how he was before, really active and very sociable.” 

Jane Scott, veterinary surgeon at Paragon, said: “Platelet products have been available for some time in the USA but have only recently become available in the UK via the Pet Blood Bank. 

“The canine platelet concentrate was couriered to us and Harvey received the transfusion that evening and Harvey was brighter by the next day.

“Harvey was discharged on further medication which we plan to gradually taper and he is currently doing well at home. 

“We were really pleased to work with colleagues at the Pet Blood Bank to be able to give Harvey a platelet transfusion, and now we can offer this treatment to patients with thrombocytopenia.”

Lifesaving blood and platelet products can only be supplied by the Pet Blood Bank thanks to the generosity of owners and dogs in donating blood. To find out more, visit

Paragon provides expert care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery.

For more information on Paragon Veterinary Referrals, visit or search for Paragon Veterinary Referrals on social media. 

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