Alba was diagnosed with New Forest Syndrome – a disease which killed dozens of pets. The Labrador was given just hours to live.
Her owners were devastated and were left with only one option: an eight-hour operation that vets warned might kill her.
The desperate owners agreed to save their beloved Labrador.
Fortunately, Alba survived the surgery. The vets and clinicians used a treatment called plasmapheresis – a process which involved draining Alba’s blood, pumping it through a machine to filter out the mystery disease, then pumping it back into her body again.
That makes the 11-month-old Lab the first dog to survive New Forest Syndrome thanks to the pioneering treatment. Vets at the Queen Mother Animal Hospital cured Alba by pumping her blood through a dialysis machine which filtered out the pathogens that were attacking her body.
They said procedure was risky because the machine also removes the clotting agents in the blood, meaning Alba risked bleeding to death.
Rebecca Magee, Alba’s owner, thanked the vets for saving her beloved pet.
“It was a terrifying experience,” said Rebecca.
“It wasn’t an easy decision. But they made it clear it was her only chance of survival, so that made my mind up for me.’”
The procedure cost $11,300 in total but only $6,600 was covered by her insurance.
“We were lucky we could afford it,” she added.
“Even then, it meant we can’t take a holiday this year. If it had gone on much longer we would have had to stop treating her eventually. But it is hard to put a price on your pet.”
Alba’s case was featured on the BBC2 series Young Vets.
The Labrador first fell ill in April. She developed lesions all over her legs and just within a day her kidneys started to fail. She was soon transferred to the Queen Mother Hospital.
There vets diagnosed her with New Forest Syndrome – it got its name from the first reported case in 2012 in the forest in Hampshire.
Vets are still unsure where the New Forest Syndrome comes from. Symptoms include skin lesions that won’t heal, depression, loss of appetite and vomiting followed by kidney failure.
Before Alba, no dog had been known to survive the illness
The mysterious disease has killed more than 40 dogs in UK alone.
Dan Chan, the vet who treated Alba, said he has already seen six cases but had not managed to save any of them.
“These are very early stages of understanding what the disease process is,’ he added. ‘Alba was very lucky because her kidney was not yet completely destroyed, and she was young and healthy enough to recover.”
New Forest Syndrome is also known as Ababama Rot – see more here http://www.newforest.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=14110
Source: Daily Mail