Deidra, a 5-year-old miniature poodle, transformed overnight from healthy and happy to so sick she could barely move.
Her owners, Helen and Joseph Teklits, rushed her to a veterinary hospital near their Manhattan home where she was diagnosed with a condition that caused her immune system to destroy her own red blood cells. For two weeks, Deidra struggled in the intensive care unit without showing any signs of progress.
The Teklits had almost given up hope when their veterinarian suggested transferring Deidra to BluePearl Veterinary Partners so she could undergo hemodialysis. Under the care of Dr. Adam Eatroff, director of BluePearl’s hemodialysis center, Deidra underwent a process called therapeutic plasma exchange.
“With this therapy, the patient’s blood is ‘cleaned’ by the dialysis machine by removing diseased plasma and replacing it with healthy plasma taken from a donor,” said Eatroff. “While it’s been used for a while in human medicine, it’s relatively new in the veterinary world and the results can be impressive.”
BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in New York has been offering dialysis for about two years. In that time, they have treated about 40 patients. In addition to immune-related conditions like Deidra’s, dialysis can also be used to treat heart disease, poisoning and heatstroke.
In Deidra’s case, the therapy had an almost immediate effect. She began showing signs of improvement after her first treatment and was soon eating and drinking on her own, according to Helen Teklits.
“She wasn’t completely out of the woods but she was a different dog,” said Teklits. “Every day she was looking better and better. She went from a dying dog to a dog who was happily jumping when she saw us.”
After just five days, Deidra was sent home with the Teklits. They say she’s almost entirely back to her old self at this point. Now they want to raise awareness about the use of dialysis for pets.
“If we would have known about this treatment, we wouldn’t have wasted two weeks before finding a solution to help Deidra,” said Helen Teklits. “More pet owners should know that this is an option. It could save their pets’ lives.”