Blood donation in pets

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We talk about everyday heroes when humans donate blood. Did you know that your pet can become a blood donor as well?

Various conditions will cause  a drop in red blood cell count. A blood donation can mean the difference between life and death.

Blood transfusions are required for patients that:
  • Are anaemic due to trauma or surgery
  • Are anaemic due to disease such as biliary or other haemolytic anaemias
  • Have a clotting problem due to rat poison toxicity (eg warfarin) or liver failure
  • Have a critical blood protein loss which needs plasma to increase levels, e.g. puppies with parvovirus diarrhoea (“katgriep”)
How can my pet become a blood donor?

Speak to your vet about their blood donation program. Some of the larger Veterinary Clinics in South Africa have active blood banks. Other practises require donors on call. Regardless of the individual needs of your veterinary clinic you can make a difference.

To become a blood donor your dog will need to fit a certain criteria:
  • The donor must be healthy and well-tempered.
  • Between 1-6 years of age and fully vaccinated.
  • Over 26 kg of body weight to be able to donate 450 ml blood.
  • Tick control measures must be up to date.
  • If a heart murmur, seizures or any other chronic disease were diagnosed the dog is not fit for donation.
  • If your pet previously received a blood donation it is not recommend to become a donor.
  • Pets can donate blood every 3 months.
How long does the process takes?

The process typically takes 10-30 minutes.

The more accustomed your dog are to the procedure the quicker and stress free it will be.

If you would like to get involved in blood donation, register your pet at your local veterinarian.

Resources:
  1. http://www.akcchf.org/educational-resources/library/articles/articles/canine-blood-donation.html
  2. https://www.thedodo.com/close-to-home/can-your-dog-donate-blood
  3. https://pethealthcare.co.za/PetFriendly/Articles/your-pet-blood-donating-hero