Rascal, a 14-year-old terrier, was surrendered to B.C. SPCA suffering from severe flea infestation. He almost died and required a blood transfusion. (Submitted photo)

Dog with 100,000 fleas saved after blood transfusion

Terrier from Lantzville that was surrendered to the SPCA had to be rushed to veterinary hospital

A dog was saved Thursday afternoon after nearly dying from blood loss as a result of severe flea infestation, says B.C. SPCA.

Rascal, a terrier from Lantzville that was surrendered to the SPCA, had to be rushed to VCA Canada Island Veterinary Hospital after losing close to 85 per cent of his blood due to the parasites. Dr. Ken Langelier, the veterinarian that treated the dog, said Rascal had over 100,000 fleas on him.

“It was a 14-year-old dog,” said Langelier. “He unfortunately was sick to the point where he was in critical distress … he was being cranked dry. His percentage of red blood cells was nine per cent when normally a dog would have 40 to 50 per cent.”

Langelier said Rascal received some vitamin and iron injections and also took Simparica, a monthly flea and tick control tablet.

Rascal was suffering from severe dental disease as well and was brought in by someone caring for the dog, said Leon Davis, Nanaimo B.C. SPCA branch manager. There was consideration to euthanizing him, Davis said.

“[Euthanization] was originally what we believed, on vet recommendations, was going to be best it was so bad, but then the vet asked us if we’d be willing to consider a blood transfusion,” said Davis. “It was looking like it would be a really big cost to try and save the dog’s life and we were preparing to figure out how to do that and then the vet office decided that they were going to take it on and absorb those costs for us.”

Langelier said the hospital will pay for the costs of the transfusion and dental work so that Rascal “gets a chance to live his life royally and go to a new home.”

Tina Heary, B.C. SPCA senior animal protection officer, said the matter is currently under investigation.

“We have an open file on the matter,” said Heary. “Obviously our priority was initially tending to the dog’s needs and making sure that the vet was going to be able to provide the necessary treatment and that was the focus … now that Rascal is stabilized, which is amazing, we’re happy for that, we can now put more focus on how did we get here.”

Heary said pet owners have a duty to provide appropriate care and veterinary treatment for their animals and recommends owners contact their veterinarian in relation to flea prevention.

reporter@nanaimobulletin.com