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In need of a bit of joy in your life? Me too. You'll be pleased to hear then that a cocker spaniel is travelling all the way from Lancashire to the US to save the life of one of her own puppies with a pioneering stem cell transplant.
Mum Coco gave birth to Millie in the UK six years ago before the pup moved 4,000 miles away with her new owners to California, where she was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Her only chance at survival is through a rare stem cell treatment, which is not yet available in the UK and can only be performed at one US hospital.
Coco and her owner, 52-year-old Robert Alcock, travelled from their home in Darwen, Lancashire, to North Carolina on Wednesday to reunite with Millie.
Her owners, Serena and Andrew Lodge from San Francisco, have funded the trip and are paying for the costly treatment, which will likely run into the thousands of dollars.
The stem cell transplant will be performed on Sunday at the NC State Veterinary Hospital, which is one of the only animal hospitals in the world to offer the treatment.
The experimental procedure involves taking healthy blood stem cells from Coco's bone marrow and injecting them into Millie to replace her diseased ones.
Catering manager Robert said: "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.
"They contacted us, and we sent some blood samples for testing, along with samples from one of Coco's other pups.
"They both came back positive, but because Coco is Millie's mother the vet said she would be a better match."
After receiving the test results, Serena and Andrew asked Robert if he would be willing to fly to the USA with seven-year-old Coco to try and help save Millie's life.
Robert said: "The Lodges have paid for everything, and I didn't like to ask how much the operation is costing but I think it will be in the thousands.
"We will be in America for about a week. Coco will go into hospital on Sunday for the procedure and then the cells will be donated on Monday."
Andrew and Serena, who emigrated to America for work, have been warned even if the operation is a success there is only a 50 percent chance Millie will be cured.
Coco is expected to make a full recovery from the operation.
Robert said: "If it was a human then the chances of survival would be really good. But this is a pioneering procedure, they haven't done very many of these transplants before, so we'll have to wait and see what happens."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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