‘Horsey’ Blood Donor saves Foal’s Life

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A rather unusual blood transfusion took place last week when a horse from The Blue Cross saved the life of a foal with a rare blood disorder.

Vets were called to the aid of a seriously ill foul and in order to save its life knew it needed an urgent blood transfusion.

The foal was suffering with a disease known as neonatal isoerythrolysis. Similar to Rhesus syndrome in babies, antibodies from the mare had attacked the foal’s red blood cells during pregnancy leaving the foal with a dangerously low red blood count.

The vets rushed the foal back to their clinic but they needed to find a suitable donor fast.

Luckily Harold a 15-year-old gelding, was on standby and happy to offer his assistant.

Harold was being loaned by The Blue Cross to practice vet Richard Stephenson who treats homeless horses at The Blue Cross equine centre. The Vets discussed the potential to perform a blood transfusion and Richard thought of Harold.

Harold generously donated 3 litres, waiting patiently for over an hour as the blood was collected into bags containing anti-coagulate. The transfusion was a success and blood tests soon confirmed that the foal’s red blood cell count had risen to a safe level.

Speaking about the transfusion vet Richard Stephenson said:

“Without Blue Cross Harold we would certainly have lost the foal,

“It was almost as if he knew how important his job was. Fortunately he has the perfect, laid-back temperament to cope with being a blood donor. He stood perfectly for over an hour while we took the life-saving blood and afterwards behaved as though nothing unusual had happened.”

If you own a horse it is unlikely that they will need a blood transfusion to save their life. However, owning a horse is a huge financial investment and with the spiralling cost of Vets bills it is a good idea to take out horse insurance. Make sure you cover yourself for Vet’s Fees, Public Liability, Theft or Straying, Personal Accident and more by visiting www.horse-insurance.co.uk. You can tailor-make a policy to suits your needs and you will also receive a 20% online discount. If you insure two or more horses, you will also receive a 10% multi horse discount.

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