Meet Louis,region’s first dog on dialysis

Diagnosed with renal failure,six-year-old Louis was considered too weak to undergo stem cell treatment.

Written by Vidya Krishnan | New Delhi | Published:March 14, 2009 12:13 am

Diagnosed with renal failure,the six-year-old dog is the first in India to have a permanent catheter surgically inserted into his jugular vein for dialysis sessions

Diagnosed with renal failure,six-year-old Louis was considered too weak to undergo stem cell treatment. With no respite in sight,his family brought together doctors from across the world to save him. The solution these great minds came up with has made Louis,a Labrador,the first dog in India to have a permanent catheter surgically inserted into his jugular vein for dialysis sessions.

Louis was diagnosed with leptospirosis in 2008,which led to renal failure. “He was extremely ill,had no energy to play and was no longer the happy dog he once was,” says Shreya Sawhney,the owner of the dog.

Worried about his condition,Shreya took him to Dr Ranjit Kharb,a leading veterinarian in the Capital.

Through web conference,doctors in Chennai,Delhi and California discussed the treatment options available for Louis. With help from doctors in Madras Veterinary College and the University of California,the family decided that Louis was not fit for a transplant as the success rate was low in such cases.

“We were exploring all avenues because there is no cure for renal failure. We consulted doctors in California who perform kidney transplants on dogs and the companies that provide stem cell treatment to animals. The companies could not guarantee success. They said he was too weak to survive the process of extracting his bone marrow from which the stem cells would be harvested,” explains Shreya.

In February 2009,when Louis’s condition started deteriorating rapidly,the family decided to put him on haemodialysis. The facility is available only in Chennai. “We could not make him shuttle between Chennai and Delhi for every session. We had to buy a dialysis machine for him,” adds Shreya.

With help from leading nephrologists in the country,the Sawhneys got in touch with suppliers in Germany and purchased the machine,costing over Rs 8 lakh,early this month. According to Dr Kharb,this is the first time haemodialysis has been performed on a dog in North India. The permanent catheter inserted into his jugular vein will eliminate the need to change the catheter every few weeks as is currently done for dogs in India.

“Like human beings,dogs too can lead a normal life for long on dialysis. This (a permanent catheter) allows them to undergo dialysis sessions with maximum ease throughout life,” said Dr Kharb.

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