Can your dog give blood?

 

When I was approached by Pet Blood Bank UK, to enquire if we may be interested in including a blog article on pet blood donation, I was eager to help spread the word.

Just like us, dogs often require blood transfusions if they are sick or injured, which is why in 2007 Pet Blood Bank UK was formed and they are the first and only animal blood bank charity in the UK.

Can your dog give blood?

 

How many dog owners consider offering their dogs as blood donors? In all my years of dog ownership, it really is nothing that I had considered before.

Emergencies that require blood transfusions

  • Surgery
  • Ruptured spleen
  • Rat poisoning
  • Anemia
  • Sepsis
  • Hemorrhage
  • Bleeding in the stomach
  • Low platelet count
  • Gastric torsion

Criteria for blood donors

  1. Your dog should ideally be aged between one and eight years old
  2. Be fit and healthy.
  3. Not be taking any medication.
  4. Be up to date on both flea/ worm treatments and vaccinations
  5. Have not previously received a blood transfusion
  6. Weigh more than 25kg
  7. Have a good temperament
  8. Easy to handle
  9. Never travelled abroad.

 

How long does the procedure take?

Once your dog has received a full veterinary check, a small amount of fur will be clipped away from the needle site on the neck. The area is cleaned and some local anesthetic cream will be applied to minimise the needle sensation. During the process, your dog will be comforted and stroked and if at any time, they seem under duress, the procedure will be stopped.  It takes 5 – 10 minutes for a dog to donate 450ml of blood.

Different blood types

Different blood types

Like us, dogs have different blood types and in the UK we test for DEA 1 positive and negative.  With only 30% of dogs having a negative blood type, keeping up with demand can be challenging.  Research by Pet Blood Bank shows that certain breeds of dogs are more likely to be negative blood type and it is these dogs that the charity particularly needs to come forward.

The breeds are:

  • Airedales
  • American Bulldogs
  • Border Collies
  • Boxers
  • Dobermans
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Bull Terriers
  • Flat-Coated Retrievers
  • German Shepherd Dogs
  • Greyhounds
  • Lurchers
  • Old English Sheepdogs
  • Pointers
  • Weimaraners

Following the procedure

Once the dog has given blood, they will be given a snack, water and time to relax. The blood is then taken to the charity’s center, where it is processed and stored until it is required.

Your dog is then presented with a red bandana to show that they have donated. A lovely touch, which when worn, could help to encourage other owners to put their pooches forward.

If you would like further details, please contact Pet Blood UK on the link provided at the beginning of this article.

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