Pioneering op saves ill meerkat
A baby meerkat from an animal sanctuary in the Harborough area was given a life-saving transfusion using the blood of another meerkat.
Musashis the Meerkat is believed to be the first meerkat in the world to successfully undergo the pioneering blood transfusion treatment, which took place last month at The Scott Veterinary Clinic in Bedford.
Musashis lives at the Northamptonshire Monkey Sanctuary near Braybrooke, and the centre’s owner Adam Tones thinks the operation may well be a world-first.
Both he and the Scott Clinic could find no record of such a procedure being carried out anywhere else.
Musashis had been unwell and when Mr Tones took him to the vets, they found the meerkat’s antibodies were attacking its own blood cells causing him to bleed.
The meerkat is anaemic and became so ill that Mr Tones said that it was staggering ‘as though drunk’.
Mr Tones and his partner Jo Greene took Musashis to the clinic in Bedford which specialises in, among other things, treating small animals like meerkats.
Musashis was being kept under observation but two weeks’ later Mr Tones got a call from vet Nathalie Wissink-Argilaga, who would later perform the live-saving transfusion.
The vet said Musashis had become unresponsive and that he could die in a matter of minutes.
But the transfusion saved his life.
Although the transfusion was a costly procedure Mr Tones said he did not hesitate to give consent to the op.
Moulton College in Northamptonshire, an animal welfare college, provided a healthy meerkat which made it possible.
Musashis is now back home and well in the Harborough district.
Mr Tones said Musashis was well looked after by the staff at the clinic and was even taken home by one nurse overnight so she could keep a close watch on him.
Mrs Wissink-Argilaga said: “It went very well and he recovered very well. With any blood transfusion there is a risk that they might not respond.
“With a meerkat we don’t know if they have blood groups. It’s not something we can test for so we [later] needed to make sure he wouldn’t reject the blood and become poorly again.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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