Haemophilia is a rare disorder which impairs the body's ability to form blood clots. This can lead to prolonged bleeding and an increased risk of internal bleeding. Although many people will know of the disease in humans, many will be less aware that it can also affect dogs.
Not only has Baggins the Cocker Spaniel been diagnosed with the condition, his case has attracted attention from veterinarians and supporters around the world. Through his growing social media presence and his role as Ambassador for the Human Haemophilia Society, Baggins and his owners have raised awareness of the disorder. Their Facebook page 'Baggins Sutton and fwiends ickle Adventures' has also helped to raise funds and awareness for other causes, including other dogs in need of medical attention and six rescue dogs in need of forever homes.
After all his work helping others, Baggins is now in need of some assistance himself.
Paul Sutton, "When Baggins was very young we found out that he was becoming lame in his legs. After several months of going back to the vets it was discovered that he had Haemophilia A, a condition extremely rare in a Cocker Spaniel. Canine Haemophilia is very similar to the human version and so we started researching the human condition as there was very little to go on with the canine version."
Baggins conditions had become manageable and his joint bleeds were being treated accordingly, but three weeks ago Baggins took a turn for the worse.
"We managed Baggins condition well - he was symptom free for over a year, then three weeks ago (approx end of June 2017) Baggins had what we thought was a nasty back leg joint bleed - after several hours we realised it was more serious and he soon became paralysed in his rear legs. After rushing him to Willows we found out he had actually had a serious spinal bleed.
"Three weeks later (and after huge vet bills!) we have found that very very slowly his back legs are starting to have some movement. At the moment his left more than his right. Its going to be a very long and slow process to get him hopefully back to using his back legs - but there is improvement."
As a result, Paul's wife Wendy is now caring for Baggins full time which put further strain on their finances. Wendy says, "Helping currently is tranexamic acid, massage, leg stretches, walking on his sling and hydrotherapy."
Before his bleed, Wendy says Baggins loved to play with other dogs at day care once a week, but play is always supervised and he is never allowed off lead whilst out walking.
Wendy adds, "He's allowed to be a normal dog playing and running and walking, just being more careful. He's a happy little chappie who loves football and running.
"The vets are unsure of what use he will get back as they don't yet know the extent of the damage done to his spine being compressed by the bleed so it's just wait and see."
Baggins' recovery will be a long process and the vet bills will continue to grow. His owners hope to raise £5,000 towards his treatment. To give your support, go to his fundraising page.