ST. LOUIS (KPLR/KTVI/CNN) - Just like humans, sometimes dogs get kidney disease, but there’s no waiting list or network in place to find donors for a transplant.
One dog in Missouri got a second chance thanks to her quick-thinking owner and one of her own puppies.
Three years ago on a hot summer day, a dog named Star was saved.
"Star and the puppies were found in a plywood box in summer, and they had no food or water," said veterinarian Dr. Shannon Flegle.
Star had given birth to 13 puppies. Nine survived.
By the time Star arrived at Murphy Animal Hospital, Flegle says the dog was in advanced kidney failure and having seizures. After several weeks of medical care and TLC, Star bounced back and was doing OK until this summer.
"One day she just started vomiting and wouldn't eat," Flegle said.
Tests showed Star's kidneys were failing, and she needed a miracle. Flegle, who adopted the dog, called Jenny Murray, who had adopted one of the puppies, named Elsa.
Murray said she kept in touch with the families who adopted Elsa's siblings and the Flegles but never imagined she'd get a call like this.
"She said, 'I have a crazy question for you,'" Murray said.
Flegle explained that Star's health was failing, and doctors said her only chance was a kidney transplant.
"I could tell this was a mom, this was her baby, you know," Murray said. "She was going to do what she needed to do to try to save her baby."
Surgeons at the University of Wisconsin-Madison performed the rare transplant surgery Oct. 10 on the mother and daughter.
"And 36 hours later, her blood work was normal," Flegle said.
The dogs are back at their respective homes recovering.