Man’s Best Friend Saved, Thanks To Blood Transfusions

Like any pet owner would, one Sioux Falls family noticed their dog was sick and rushed him to the vet. There, veterinarians determined the dog needed a life-saving procedure… one that isn’t given to pets too often.

“Maleako is a very laid back dog… you can’t really get a lot of emotion out of him at all. He’s very ‘go with the flow’… takes it easy.”

Maleako is a 10 year old “pup” who likes to chase after the garbage man, said owner Danielle Haugan. But Haugan said, he wasn’t acting like himself… his heart rate and breathing rate had increased and things took a scary turn when he was rushed to Best Care Pet Hospital.

“He presented, a several day history, of extreme, progressive, lethargy and anorexia,” said Doctor Krista Hardy, a veterinarian and certified canine rehabilitation therapist at Best Care Pet Hospital. “When I looked at him and did the initial evaluation, I did notice that his gums were very, very pale.”

Doctor Hardy said the gums should of had a pink color to them, which led her to believe that Maleako was anemic, so she checked his blood.

“His hematocrit, or percentage of red blood cells, was extremely life threatening low… at 10%,” Doctor Krista Hardy, a veterinarian and certified canine rehabilitation therapist at Best Care Pet Hospital said. Normally, a healthy dog’s percentage is anywhere between 35% and 55% percent.

With Maleako in dire straits, Doctor Hardy suggested something unique… a blood transfusion.

“If it wasn’t for Labrador and the Pit bull that donated their blood, Maleako wouldn’t be here today,” said owner Danielle Haugan, adding that she wants to give the two dogs who donated a gift and say that you to their owners.

And that’s what happened… two of them in fact.
To help save Maleako’s life.

“So just like in humans, dogs do have blood groups and so it’s very important to,” explained Doctor Hardy, “with all our canine blood donors, to type them and figure out if they’re a universal donor.” In addition to typing the blood, Doctor Krista Hardy, a veterinarian and certified canine rehabilitation therapist at Best Care Pet Hospital, makes sure that the blood isn’t infected with tickborne disease or if, metabolically, they have liver or kidney disease.

And just like humans, vets need dogs to donate blood so they can provide this procedure to pets like Maleako.
To give your pup needs to be healthy, current on vaccines, be younger to middle aged, preferably hasn’t been pregnant in the past and weights over 50 pounds.  Doctor Hardy says that if your dog qualifies and you are interested in becoming a possible donor, owners can contact herself by calling (605) 334-2412 or through email, She also encourages owners to call Doctor Heidi Hanson at All City Pet Care South at (605) 610-0873.

“We just hope that we can create some awareness around the fact that your animal can be on standby for any emergency, for any need, that a dog may need for blood or a blood transfusion,” said owner Danielle Haugan.

Because, as the saying goes, the journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog.

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