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Rolo’s story

21 June 2013

Willows 'Phone a Friend for the Pet Blood Bank Campaign 2013' 

Rolo is a young and inquisitive dog who’s only thought (if Labradors can think...) is that life is one big playground. The day before we met Rolo he had a very active and busy afternoon helping in the garden. Later the same day he started coughing and bringing up blood which is always a worrying sign. Although Rolo’s tail continued to wag his breathing became increasingly laboured, and when chest X-rays taken by the local vets seemed worrying, he was referred on to us for specialist care. Rolo arrived here on April Fool’s day which is probably just coincidental.

Rolo the Chocolate Labrador 


Rolo’s chest X-rays suggested he was bleeding in to his lungs, and blood tests showed that his normal blood clotting system was failing, making him at risk from spontaneous bleeding. The most likely explanation for Rolo’s problems was that his nose had taken him to some forbidden rat bait which, being a Labrador, he had then eaten. Rat poison causes problems with blood clotting, and in Rolo’s case this led to bleeding into his lungs. The lung does not cope at all well with bleeding, and it was distressing for everyone to see Rolo struggling to breathe. The best treatment in a situation like this relies on us giving vitamin K as an antidote to the rat poison and a plasma transfusion to replace the proteins that enable the normal blood clotting system to function. In Rolo’s case we had just what he needed in our freezer, thanks to the products we are able to obtain from the Pet Blood Bank. Within 48 hours of starting his treatment Rolo’s breathing was much improved and a blood test confirmed that he was out of danger in terms of his clotting system.

Rolo had to stay on vitamin K for 4 weeks to ensure he made a full recovery and, just as importantly, he needs to keep his nose out of trouble in future – clearly his owners are committed to helping him with this part of the deal!

Rolo’s owners and the medicine team at Willows Referral Service are very grateful to the dogs (and their owners) who kindly donated blood that enabled us to save Rolo from the risk of life threatening deterioration in his breathing.

Willows is running a blood donor session in conjunction with the Pet Blood Bank, a not-for-profit charitable organisation that supplies life-saving blood and blood products for dogs across the UK.

Learn more about Willows’ blood donor session and the Pet Blood Bank.