Could your pet help save a life by becoming a blood donor?
Why do we need blood donors?
As a result of accident or illness some of our patients’ require a blood transfusion as part of their treatment.
How does my pet become a blood donor?
If your pet can answer yes to the following statements then please contact the practice to discuss registering him/her as a donor:
- I am aged between one and six years of age.
- I am over 4kg in weight (cats) / 25kg in weight (dogs).
- I am up to date with my vaccinations (including leukaemia vaccination in cats).
- I am fit and healthy and not on any permanent medication.
- I have not travelled outside the UK.
- I have a calm temperament and I am not scared of needles.
What happens when your pet donates blood?
In pets, like in humans, there are many different blood types. Each blood type refers to the certain small molecules present on red blood cells; the molecules differ between the different blood types. Despite the many blood types there are two main divisions: positive and negative.
The process of blood typing is very simple and only requires 1ml of blood to run the test. This is the first stage of becoming a blood donor and is performed prior to blood donation.
When a donor is needed (often in an emergency situation) we will contact the owners of a pet with a suitable blood type; if you agree to be a donor then this could be you.
On arrival at the surgery a small blood sample is taken from your pet to check that he/she has a high enough level of red blood cells to be safe to donate. Prior to donation your pet may be given a very mild sedative which helps to keep them calm whilst donating. We also clip some fur from their neck and apply a local anaesthetic cream to numb the area.
After 20 minutes the area should be numb and the needle can be inserted into the jugular vein and ‘one unit’ of blood collected (one dog unit = 450ml, one cat unit = 50ml). The collection process takes approximately 10 minutes.
Once the process is complete an anti-bruising cream is applied to the neck area. Your pet is then offered food and water and monitored by one of our nurses until he/she is ready to be sent home. All blood donors are sent home with a free bag of food.