27 Jan 2020
StreetVet are a UK charity providing veterinary treatment for dogs belonging to people experiencing homelessness. Their service is completely free of charge and navigates round many of the barriers that prevent these owners seeking veterinary care for their beloved pets. StreetVet rely on a large pool of volunteer vets and veterinary nurses and the support of the veterinary industry as a whole.
The StreetVet volunteers get to know their patients and owners well as they will often see them on a weekly basis. Bolt, a small, nervous Jack Russel Terrier was well known to the London team and was regularly seen for flea and worm treatment. Known to be lively and sensitive but in very good health, it was a complete shock to his owner when he became inexplicably quiet and lost all interest in the things he usually loved to do. He rapidly deteriorated and the London StreetVet team arranged an emergency appointment for him at a nearby veterinary hospital. There he was diagnosed with the condition immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA). This condition often occurs spontaneously and causes a malfunction in the dog’s immune system leading his own body to destroy his red blood cells. This can happen rapidly over a matter of hours or days and leave the patient severely anaemic and critically ill.
Luckily for Bolt, the team at the RVC Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital were able to perform a life-saving blood transfusion and provide intensive care until his medication started to work and he was back on his feet. Bolt recovered extremely well but required ongoing treatment and his anaemia required frequent monitoring. Time spent away from his owner was causing Bolt anxiety so StreetVet had to find a way that he could be fully assessed at their on-street outreach sessions. This is where support provided by Woodley Veterinary Diagnostics proved pivotal in Bolt’s chances of long term recovery and potential remission. By donating handheld haematocrit devices (the Insight HCT Meter) that can instantly provide the user with a result indicating the patient’s anaemia levels, Bolt’s care could be continued without further stressful trips to indoor veterinary clinics. In effect the London team could provide all the care he needed right there on the street and his medication doses could be altered accordingly. IMHA can be difficult to treat and if the drug doses are reduced too soon, this can lead to a further life-threatening anaemia crisis. So for Bolt, the donation of this equipment is continuing to help to save his life.
Currently, Bolt continues to be a regular patient with the London team, he is lively and happy again and responding well to his treatment plan. His owner and the StreetVet volunteers are extremely grateful to have had the support of Woodley Veterinary Diagnostics, without which Bolt’s ongoing care would have proved a far greater challenge. It is not unusual for patients to experience anaemia and other conditions affecting red blood cell concentrations in the body, so there will be many instances where this bedside haematocrit monitor will prove immensely useful to StreetVet and their patients well into the future.