Just like humans, pets can find themselves in a medical situation where they need blood. However, unlike human hospitals most veterinary clinics cannot maintain a blood bank. When the need arises for blood, a volunteer donor is called in and fresh blood is collected.
Pet’s can need blood for many reasons but the most common are: trauma, bleeding disorders, toxicity, and cancer.
Riverside Small Animal Hospital keeps a blood donor call list that is made up of volunteers. These donors have been screened and meet the following requirements.
- Dogs that weigh 35 kg or more
- Cats that weigh a healthy 5 kg or more
- Up to date on vaccines and physical exam
- Not on a raw food diet
- Between the ages of 2 and 8 years
- Have not had a previous blood transfusion
- Low stress personality and easy to handle
- Owners the don’t mind being contact at all hours
-Live within easy driving distance of the clinic
Two of our blood donors are German Shepherd sisters Keira and Kela! They met the initial requirements and volunteered to be part of the blood donor call list. The next step for these girls was to have a full check up with one of the clinics doctors.
Dr. Matt Nicol saw both Keira and Kela and gave them a full head to toe physical exam to ensure they were healthy enough to donate blood. Dr. Nicol also ordered a general health panel to be performed which looks at the bodies hematology and chemistry. The laboratory technician also runs a test to determine blood type.
Both Keira and Kela are Universal blood donors. This is ideal for a donor!
Dogs basically have two blood types, DEA positive and DEA negative. Positive types are universal receivers and negative types are universal donors.
Now that the shepherds had received a clean bill of health they were placed on the call list.
Only four days after being approved for donating blood Keira was called in to the clinic to donate blood to another dog. Kela also bravely donated blood a few months later. A heart felt thank you to Keira, Kela, and their owners for helping families and pets in need.