How your pet could be a hero

By: Health Local Staff Apr 19, 2013
pet donating blood

Your dog or cat could become a superhero by saving the lives of other pets.

Animal blood donors are becoming a hot topic as more and more research is being carried out on how canine blood donation works. Not only can your dog or cat offer you years of enjoyment, unconditional love and affection, but could even become a superhero by saving the lives of other pets.

There is a short supply of blood available for other animals and a large need in the blood donor community. Soliciting canine and feline donations has become big business because of the need in the pet community. 

How Your Dog Meets the Criteria?

Blood donor criteria must be met in order for your dog to be able to donate blood. There are different procedures used in different programs but most require your dog to be physically screened and cleared of any ailments before they are eligible to donate blood.

The blood donation appointment typically lasts about 15 minutes. It is extremely humane and similar to the donation appointment of a human. Blood is generally collected from the vein in the dog’s neck or on the front of the leg. The blood draw usually takes 3-5 minutes and afterward pressure is applied to the site for a few minutes until the bleeding stops. The dog is then released with their owner to go home and rest. Dogs typically resume their normal activities within minutes of being home in their regular environment.

Veterinarians report that dogs are extremely resilient and recover at a much quicker rate than humans after a blood donation. The dog’s blood pressure resumes to normal at a higher rate than humans because their head is close to the same height as their heart.

Once the blood has been collected it is tested to ensure that the blood is free of pathogens. With one donation that has been screened and is favourable for use, up to four dogs may be saved.

How Often Can My Dog Donate Blood?

The overall consensus among blood donation offices for pets allows the dog to donate blood once every three months. It is not harmful to the dog to donate earlier than this time frame, but recommended that the dog not be exposed to undue stress. Waiting three months helps the dog completely recoup from the prior donation.

Additional criteria may be required depending on the blood donation facility. Small dogs are not typically eligible for donation, as most facilities require that the dog weigh more than 50 pounds and are in good health. If the dog is overweight, they may not be eligible for donation. 

If the dog ages out, meaning they become over the age of eight years old, they may not be eligible for blood donation. Also, all dogs that are eligible for blood donation must have a good temperament, not be too hyper or aggressive, and be up to date on all shots and vaccinations. Check with your veterinarian today if you are interested in a blood donor screening for your pet. 

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