Can Dogs Donate Blood?

Pet Health

HIF Australia

Do you know about the need for donated blood for our dogs? Vets often rely on staff pets or a willing client to donate blood which can put a lot of pressure on an animal to act as a donor, especially when they are not always the best candidate for blood donation (due to age, size, recently having donated blood etc). By increasing donor lists at pet blood banks and also at general practice clinics, the demand for blood can be shared around which is better for everyone." In this short clip with our friends at Pooches at Play, Lara catches up with veterinary nurse, Bella to hear all about the Blood Hound Donor Campaign.

Video Transcription


[Part 1 with Bella and Roo]

Lara: We all know how important it is for us people to donate blood for case of emergencies, and to help keep our blood banks stocked. But, what happens when our dog needs a blood transfusion? It's not something you think about is it?

Lara: Well I am with Bella, a vet nurse and her gorgeous dog Roo, who is actually a very inspiring blood donor for dogs.

Lara: How did this come about Bella?

Bella: So I’ve worked as a vet nurse for a couple of years now, however I actually saw on Facebook that one of the local emergency vets had a need for donated bloods. So they started an actual bank, rather than relying on shipped in products, or staff pets, and it was something I always knew I wanted to do with her. This was a way of actually signing her up.

Lara: And how much of a need is there for dogs to donate blood?

Bella: It's definitely something clinics quite regularly use. Emergency clinics have a higher need for it than general clinics. However, they both definitely need the blood for a variety of different ailments and illnesses.

Lara: And what happens when a dog donates blood?

Bella: So most of the time they will get a really mild sedation. Some dogs are so calm that they don’t need any at all. They will have the blood taken from their jugular. It normally takes around ten minutes of so, and after that they are put on a drip just to replace the fluids that they have taken. With people you can tell them to have a drink, but you can’t tell dogs to do that.

Lara: No, never.

Bella: And they always get a nice big treat afterwards. So, roast chicken or a doggy pancake, or a pigs ear.

Lara: What else do you get as an owner for taking your dog into do this?

Bella: Depending on the clinic you go to, there are quite a few incentives as an owner. The clinic we go to have given us a special blood donor lead. We also get food for each donation to bring home. We also have peace of mind that if she is ever in an emergency herself, we can have a free emergency consultation, and receive a free blood transfusion if needed.

Lara: Oh good, that's a bit of a win win isn’t it. So can all dogs give blood?

Bella: Not quite all of them, there are some prerequisites we need to meet. As a general rule most clinics will ask them to be a minimum of 25kg, some clinics will ask for higher. Also between one and eight years of age normally, up to date with all of their vaccinations, and anti-parasitics. From there the vets will do blood tests, and make sure they are all appropriate in that way as well, and go from there.

Lara: And how does Roo feel about it all do you reckon?

Bella: Roo’s pretty good, she loves all the attention she gets. She knows she is being treated like a superstar for the evening; lots of extra foods so she lives it.

Lara: Oh good, now the exciting thing is, oh and I think they are about to come! We’re about to meet Di.

Bella: I think Alou is here.

Lara: Alou, who happens to be the recipient of Roo’s bloods. So, basically Roo here saved Alou’s life and we’re about to meet them.

[Part 2 with Di and Alou]

Lara: Di when did Alou need a blood transfusion?

Di: Well Alou needed the blood transfusion as the result of an emergency surgery that she needed to have. Unbeknown to us she had a liver tumor which was bleeding and we had to race her to the emergency vet for some surgery.

Lara: How much did that set up back?

Di: Erm, about five and a half thousand dollars.

Lara: Ouch! Did you have pet insurance?

Di: Unfortunately not.

Lara: Oh, that’s a bit to save up for isn’t it.

Di: It did hit the bank account quite hard. Had she been a puppy again and we were aware of it, we would definitely. As we get if for ourselves, so we would get it for this member of the family as well.

Lara: Absolutely, how’s she doing now?

Di: Absolutely amazing! She is very healthy.

Lara: That’s good to hear and living life obviously.

Di: Very much so, you wouldn’t believe she is nearly 12 years of age, and yeah acting like a two year old.

Lara: And obviously her and Roo get along well?

Di: Aww, they have such a special bond, and really without Roo and Bella’s generous donation of that blood that night, Alou certainly wouldn’t be here with us today.

Lara: Beautiful story isn’t it. Bella how often does Roo donate?

Bella: So Roo only donates twice a year. A dog can donate up to four times a year, so once every three months. The more people that sign up obviously, the better we can preserve our donors veins, and decrease the instances where they need to go in. Everyone shares the load. Our blood donors have such wonderful temperaments, but the less they have to go in obviously the less of a potential negative association they have. And, we want to keep it positive for all of them.

Lara: Of course, of course. Well if you would love to find out about the bloodhound campaign, and how you are your pooch can get involved, visit the HIF website.

Lara: Thank you both for joining us.


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