AN EMERGENCY blood donation from her best buddy saved a Brookwater family's dog after a dramatic run-in with a kangaroo that saw one dog's throat ripped open.
The two family dogs, Mia and Archie, surprised the roo on a vacant suburban block during an afternoon walk this week.
The pair, who grew up together and know not to chase kangaroos, came across the large grey roo as they rounded a mound of dirt.
Startled and caught between the two dogs, the frightened roo went on the defensive, kicking out with its powerful legs striking Mia.
The blow ripped her throat, cutting her jugular open.
At first owner Hugh Thompson didn't realise anything was awry, but then Mia turned around and he saw the skin hanging from her neck.
"I was going to pick her up and put her in the tray, but she just jumped in there herself," Hugh said.
"Archie acted with a bit of urgency, he got up into the tray quickly.
"I knew I needed to get her to the vet straight away or it was going to be bad."
It was 6.30pm when Hugh pulled up at the Greater Springfield Veterinary Hospital.
While there is an emergency after hours service and the desk is usually manned until 10pm, head surgeon Abbie Tipler was just leaving for the day.
Luckily, Hugh arrived just in time to meet her at the door.
Mia had already lost half her blood and as she lay on the vet table, Dr Tipler, could see the light fading from her eyes.
"She was absolutely dying," Dr Tipler said.
"It was quite gruesome, but she was still with us.
"I said to the owner, do you have another dog? Archie happened to be in the back of the truck so we brought him in straight away, took some blood and immediately transfused that into Mia.
"That undoubtedly saved her life."
Archie, a Rottweiler cross German Shepherd, gave half a litre of blood which stabilised Mia allowing Dr Tipler to perform surgery to re-attach her torn muscles and repair her "obliterated" jugular.
The life-saving surgery, worth thousands of dollars, also involved removing a massive piece of skin left flapping from where the kangaroo's claw had slashed Mia open.
The two dogs are less than two years old and were born just a few days apart.
"We've had them since they were both six-week old puppies," Hugh said.
"They're definitely best friends, so we're all relieved."
Despite the extensive damage, Dr Tipler says Mia has made it through the worst part of the ordeal with infection now posing the biggest risk.
"We were lucky the owner was nearby, lucky he brought her in straight away, but the luckiest thing was that Archie was right there to be an emergency donor," Dr Tipler said.
Mia returned home to her family and best mate Archie yesterday.
She is expected to make a full recovery.
Did you know?
Most vets don't keep stores of dog blood on hand because whole blood is difficult to buy and has a short shelf life.
Instead vets use their own dogs, or other large dogs registered as blood donors, in emergency situations.
Unlike cats and people, dogs don't need to be matched for blood type in a one-off transfusion.
Follow this journalist on Twitter @helenspelitis
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