We all know about the high demand for potentially life-saving blood donations. But less is known about the same procedure for our furry friends. Just like us, dogs and cats may need an emergency blood transfusion in the case of an injury or illness. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find a suitable donor.
Both dogs and cats are able to give blood so long as they meet the necessary physical and ethical requirements. If you have a well-tempered pet who is healthy, a donation could save a life. Plus, you’ll probably be able to donate locally.
Samford’s Donation Hero
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Meet Monty, a very handsome and brave boy who was rushed to the Samford Valley Veterinary Hospital earlier this year to donate 450ml of blood in order to save a sick dog. His owner dropped everything to bring Monty in for an emergency blood transfusion, which ultimately saved the other sick dog.
The owner of the donation recipient responded via comment on Samford Valley Veterinary Hospital’s post:
“Thank you SO very much, Monty! I’m the owner of the very sick dog who has made a miraculous recovery. Without that blood donation, she would not have survived. We are forever grateful for the special care our girl received”.
Who Can Donate?
If you’re interested in donating your pet’s blood, they need to fall into the following categories. Both dogs and cats need to be between one and five years old, be healthy, fully vaccinated and have a calm and docile temperament.
A dog must weigh over 25 kilograms and give 450 millilitres of blood each visit, which is just shy of the standard human donation amount of 470mL. Canines, in most cases, need to be conscious during the procedure; generally, no anaesthetic or sedative is used. Canine blood can also be used in a transfusion with a feline subject. Medical research has not documented any severe acute adverse reactions from cats receiving a single transfusion with canine whole blood.
For cats, they need to be heavier than 4kg. The donation will take 20% of the cat’s blood which is capped at 50mL. Felines are regularly sedated for the donation process and often attached to an IV system to replace the lost fluids after the donation.
Note – these fields may change depending on the donation service you go through. Check the requirements of your chosen service before making a reservation. Your pets also should not be on any medication and should not have travelled outside of the country.
Because your pets can’t speak, they are unable to give consent themselves. It is the owner’s responsibility to speak on the pet’s behalf. Note that the risks of donating blood are significantly higher for felines than canines.
How To Donate
There are several programs in place in Queensland which strive to raise awareness of the need for pet blood transfusions. The UQ Community Blood Donor Program, Australian Animal Blood Bank and several local veterinary clinics offer pet blood donation services. If you want the advice of your vet, let them know that you may want to donate and ask for a service that they recommend.
Why You Should Donate
In instances like Monty’s, sometimes a pet needs to be brought in for an emergency transfusion. When a willing or compatible host can’t be found, the vet may need to find a stored supply. But, there are only a handful of pet blood banks in Australia. Stored canine blood is in demand, and feline blood is rarer yet again.
Pets may need a transfusion for many reasons. Some include immune-mediated conditions, traumatic injuries or toxicities, like pest poison, or being bitten by a venomous creature.
These are situations that pet owners dread and do everything they can to prevent. Just like you’d hope for someone like Monty to come to your rescue, other pet owners think the same – and your pet can be that hero.
Just like us, pets have different blood types, so they will need a suitable donor. The donation criteria and screening process involved with many donation services ensure there are minimal risks for a dog donating blood. While the risks are higher for cats, the procedure’s chances of complication are still significantly low; your cat may just need a little more help after.
Check out some of these websites to learn more about pet blood donation and consider if your pet should donate – it could save a life.
We all want our pets to receive the best possible care. At Samford Pet Resort, our team is committed to giving our pet guests the utmost attention, love and care. We know our guests are missing their owners, so we take every measure to ensure they feel happy, welcome, safe and secure. To learn more about our accommodation services or Doggy Day Care, contact our helpful team.