Sometimes Dogs and Cats Need Blood Too!
We hear about blood donation all the time on the news and the radio. Human blood donors are always needed to help other people, but what about our dogs and cats? Well, sometimes dogs and cats need blood transfusions too. Where does that blood come from?
Believe it or not, there are volunteer programs for canine and feline blood donors. The closest one is at the Animal Emergency Clinic of the Fraser Valley. There are some specific criteria that your pet needs to meet. You can find more information at their website: http://animalemerg.com/blood_donations.php
When we need blood at Mission Veterinary Hospital, we have the option to purchase blood supplies from the emergency hospital, or use one of our own donors. Currently we have two dog donors; Dr Calverley’s Chesepeke Bay Retriever named Rosie, and Kim’s Great Dane Mutt named Doris. We also have many cat donors, Kris’ cats Loo and Rosie, Alicia’s cats Roger and Dominic, and Tanya’s cats Brie and Cheddar.
Blood type does matter but fortunately most cats are type A so it is easy to find cat donors. Dogs can have a different type of blood once, but it is best to use universal donors if possible (like Rosie).
The donation process itself takes about an hour as we give our donors some sedation so they stay still for the collection procedure. Dogs donate around 500 mls (2 cups) and cats donate around 75 mls (1/3 cup). We give our donors some fluids to replace the blood volume and keep their blood pressure within the normal range. We also give them a free physical exam, a tasty canned food meal and keep them until their sedation wears off. Then they go home with our hearty thanks.