A 6-year-old cocker spaniel in California that was recently diagnosed with cancer is slated to receive stem cells from her mother living 4,000 miles away in the United Kingdom.
Coco the cocker spaniel gave birth to a litter of puppies six years ago. One of those puppies, Millie, was adopted by Serena and Andrew Lodge, who now live in San Francisco. They may live across the world from each other, but the mother and daughter will soon be reunited for the rare treatment, reported South West News Service, or SWNS, a British news agency.
The transplant will occur at the North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital in Raleigh. The facility is reportedly one of only a few animal hospitals in the world to offer the treatment, which involves taking healthy stem cells from Coco’s bone marrow and injecting them into Millie’s.
"Serena and Andrew started chemo on Millie three months ago but they've been told the only chance they'll have of curing her is if they find a positive donor so she can have a transplant,” said Coco’s owner, Robert Alcock, 52. He arrived with Coco in North Carolina on Wednesday.
"They contacted us, and we sent some blood samples for testing, along with samples from one of Coco's other pups,” he added. “They both came back positive but because Coco is Millie's mother the vet said she would be a better match."
"Coco will go into hospital on Sunday for the procedure and then the cells will be donated on Monday,” he continued, noting the Lodges “have paid for everything.”
Coco is expected to make a full recovery following the procedure. However, there is only a 50 percent chance Millie will be cured even if the treatment is successful, according to SWNS.
Stem cell therapy for pets is costly, typically setting an owner back between $2,000 and $3,000, according to Pet WebMD.