Vet Stories

Feb 7, 2022
Canine Blood Donor Receives New Lease on Life with Help from Arthrex TPLO System

A Japanese mastiff that has saved the lives of 15 dogs by providing urgent blood donations recently received support himself with the help of a generous community and a surgeon using innovation from Arthrex Vet Systems.

“Norman is like my child,” said Jeff King, owner of the five-year-old, 190-pound canine. “He’s been donating blood since he was a puppy, just like family members before him. He jumps up onto the table at the vet’s office as if he knows what he’s doing and wants to give. It’s amazing to watch.”

King is highly attuned to Norman’s mannerisms and demeanor, so in mid-2021 when he noticed Norman limping, he knew there was a problem.

“Seeing him in pain was very upsetting,” said King. “I was constantly worried about him.”

King, who lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, took Norman to Tim Preston, BVSc, DACVS-SA, for an evaluation.

“The cause was a torn cranial cruciate ligament in the left hind knee,” said Dr. Preston. “It was a quiet, slow, wear and tear over time. With day-to-day activity, the ligament had deteriorated, which is especially common in animals of Norman’s size.”

Dr. Preston determined Norman needed a surgery called a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO); without the procedure, his knee would continue to become more arthritic and likely lead to a shorter life span. King launched a GoFundMe campaign that attracted donors near and far, ultimately raising the more than $8,000 required for the surgery. After learning about Norman’s case, Arthrex contacted Dr. Preston and donated the implant system necessary: a 4.5 mm TPLO plate and screws.

“Dogs like Norman and their owners are integral to helping other pets in need,” said Product Manager Matt Houbre. “We knew by donating the 4.5 mm TPLO plate and screws, which are a perfect fit for a larger breed, not only would we be helping Norman but also future animals he would save.”

In October 2021, the procedure was performed over several hours and went well.

“The placement of the plate and screws was sublime,” said Dr. Preston. “The Arthrex 4.5 mm TPLO system is my favorite because there’s no need to fidget with screw trajectory or plate contouring; it fits smoothly. The case was perfect.”

Norman went home with King to rest and recover for the next several weeks. Today, Norman is back to his typical self, which includes following his owner around “like a shadow.” King also plans for Norman to continue donating blood for other dogs in need.

“I’m very happy and grateful,” said King. “Norman is a huge part of my life and our community in the way he gives and helps others.”

“Knowing he is comfortable and pain free with a great future ahead also means he’s able to continue donating,” said Dr. Preston. “Helping an animal like Norman who helps others is very rewarding and the pinnacle of giving back.”