Senior dog was dropped off at the Nanaimo SPCA on Vancouver Island and seemed to be covered in dirt. When the veterinarians took a closer look, they saw that the “dirt” was actually a very severe infestation of fleas.

Ken Langelier, a veterinarian at the Island Veterinarian Hospital said the pup had “the most fleas I’ve seen and I’ve been in practice for almost 40 years”. Rascal was suffering so much, his normally pink gums were drained to white. Langelier believes “the stars were aligned to help this dog.”

When the staff at the clinic gave the dog a fresh bath, they were surprised to see copper-colored water coming from the dog’s fur. Langelier explained, “When the fleas drink the blood and they go to the bathroom, they’re basically excreting digested blood,” he added, “basically you’re seeing a sea of blood.”

After evaluating the dog’s condition, the Island Veterinarian Hospital was given the choice to either put the dog down or give the dog an emergency blood transfusion.

Langelier was not letting that dog be put to rest. He said, “I looked at this dog and said, ‘You’re not dying on my watch, baby’.”

They needed blood fast before it became too late for the dog. Luckily, an employee from the Island Veterinarian Hospital had a pet German shepherd who was a universal doggy blood donor. The German shepherd was brought immediately to the clinic where it provided the blood needed to save Rascal’s life.

After hours worth of surgery and 400 milliliters of blood and many many baths, Rascal is back and better than ever with full strength and living flea-free. But the story doesn’t end there, the SPCA’s animal cruelty investigators are working to find who brought Rascal in so they can be faces with the consequences.

It is believed that the animal had been suffering the flea bites for a prolonged time but could have been completely preventable. If they do find Rascal’s previous owner, they could be faced with criminal charges.