PRINCESS Little, an inquisitive and friendly domestic short hair cat was the pride and joy of her family. She was especially close to Alex (3 years old), her best friend and closet human companion.

Princess had become very suddenly lethargic and withdrawn at home and was showing signs of severe anaemia. This became more and more concerning, and due to the life-threatening nature of her problem, she was referred to Wear Referrals near Stockton-on-Tees.

Usually there is an underlying reason for severe anaemia. Princess underwent extensive investigations including abdominal ultrasound, bone marrow biopsy.

Investigations revealed a severe infection within her liver, that was determined to be the cause of the anaemia.

Treatment for the infection was started immediately, but Princesses' condition was deteriorating rapidly. There is a Pet Blood Bank in the UK that can supply us with blood products for emergency patients, however this facility is not available for cats.

Scott Kilpatrick, a European medicine specialist, told us: "In these emergency situations we have to get healthy cats to donate blood.

"This process can take some time as we must be very careful to select the right donor. In this situation we were rapidly running out of time".

Xenotransfusion (from Greek xenos- strange or foreign), a form of xenotransplantation, was initially defined as the transfer of blood from one species into the veins of another.

In emergency situations we can use dog blood and give it to cats as a life saving measure.

Mrs Little said: "We can't thank Wear Referrals enough for everything they have done for Princess. The dog blood transfusion saved her life."

Scott the vet told us: "We're delighted to have been able to help Princess; even with this slightly more unusual intervention.”

When Princess was discharged from the hospital, Alex said: "Does this mean Princess is half a dog now.”

Scott the vet did not have the heart to say no.