NEW YORK – Despite all of her prayers, Marcia Royce’s 10-month-old German shepherd puppy was near death.
She rushed the puppy, named Pal, to a veterinary hospital in Yonkers near her home when he started vomiting. Two days later, Pal was nearly comatose and doctors said his kidneys had completely shut down.
“I don’t know what I would do if he died,” said Royce, a widow and longtime teacher. “I would be devastated. He’s my family.”
The mischievous puppy has a history of eating things he shouldn’t, and doctors suspected a toxin was to blame for his current condition. Now, time was running short and hope was starting to fade. That’s when the vet suggested Royce take Pal to BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Manhattan for dialysis treatment.
Under the care of Dr. Adam Eatroff, Pal began hemodialysis, a procedure in which the blood is removed from the body and cleansed by a filter.
“Dialysis mimics the role of the kidneys in removing toxic by-products that form as the body goes about its daily business,” said Eatroff, the director of BluePearl’s hemodialysis center. “If the kidneys are not functioning properly to eliminate these toxins in the urine, they accumulate and cause severe, often life-threatening illness.”
The BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Manhattan has been offering dialysis for about two years. In that time, they have treated about 40 patients. In addition to poisonings like Pal’s, dialysis can also be used to treat heart disease, immune-related diseases and heatstroke.
In Pal’s case, the therapy had an immediate effect. He began showing signs of improvement after his first treatment and was soon eating and drinking on his own. Now he’s ready to go home, and Royce said she hopes her story will raise awareness about the use of dialysis for pets.
“If he hadn’t received this treatment, Pal would be dead,” said Royce, who has loved German shepherds ever since she gave one to her husband, Louis, during their first year of marriage. “Other pet owners need to know that dialysis is an option. It could save their pets’ lives.”