Like humans, animals suffering from life threatening illness and injury such as trauma, anaemia or bleeding disorders may require life-saving transfusions. As a result, we require volunteers to join our blood donor program. Your pet could assist us in saving the lives of others!
Requirements for blood donors
Cats can also be donors and again must be in good physical condition and weigh at least 4kg and be between the ages of one and seven.To ensure all blood products used are of the optimum quality, we recommend donors to be dogs over 30kg, aged 1 to 6 years of age with current vaccinations including heartworm prevention, and have a friendly and calm demeanour. Donors should not be on any form of medication and should live relatively close to the hospital.
What does a donation involve?
An admission into hospital is required where we will do a physical examination and a small blood test to assess your pet's health status.
The procedure is very similar to that for people, except that the jugular vein (the one in the neck) is used rather than the vein in the arm. A patch of hair over this area must be clipped and cleaned (the hair will grow back). Your pet must sit quietly for about 15 minutes while the pack of blood is collected.
How often can a pet give blood?
Blood donors can safely donate every 4 weeks, however we normally leave at least 6-8 weeks between donations (often longer depending on demand).
The procedure is very safe, and the blood cells donated will be replaced by the bone marrow over the next few days. Nevertheless, we recommend that your furry companion be given a few days rest from strenuous exercise after donating blood.
When would a pet require a blood transfusion?
Just like humans there are many reasons why a pet would need a transfusion including anaemia, organ failure of the kidney or liver, sudden blood loss from trauma or severe haemorrhage, toxicity and blood clotting issues, septic shock just to name a few.
Do pets have different blood types?
Yes, again just like humans, cats and dogs both have different blood types. It is critical for us to determine blood type prior to administering a transfusion. All donors are blood-typed on their first donor visit.
Our way of saying thank you
We are very grateful to all our donors and as a thank you will provide complimentary six monthly wellness examinations, Idexx blood tests, annual vaccinations and a Proheart injection after giving blood.
How can you help?
If you are interested in your pet helping others in an emergency, please contact us so we can provide you with all the necessary details.