K9 Blood Donation Saves Lives

The Procedure

As there are no natural occurring antibodies in canine blood, there is no need to cross match on the first transfusion.  This means of course in case of a sever emergency blood can be used straight away.  However having said that, if a second transfusion is needed then the blood must be cross matched to avoid risk of anaphylactic shock.  A blood transfusion is needed when there has been acute loss of blood for whatever reason.

The Donor Dog

The donor dog must be at least 25kg (55lbs) in weight, more than 12 months but less that 7 years old and in good health, fully vaccinated and regularly wormed and without any history of having received a transfusion, also free from medications.  Your dog will previously have had several tests done on him/her to make sure all is well, donors are NEVER put at risk.  For more information please speak with your own veterinarian, they'll be delighted to take you through the whole procedure.

Collecting Blood from a Donor

Collecting blood from a donor, is simple, quick and involves a lot of fuss and treats at the end!  All the donor has to do is remain still whilst the blood is being collected, it's not uncomfortable at all and no one wants the experience to be stressful, however if it looks like a dog is becoming agitated then the vet will administer a light sedative to minimise any upset to dog or owner.

The blood is taken from the jugular vein in the dog's neck, no restraint is needed and because the vein s so large the blood can be collected very quickly.

If the blood given is to be stored it will be collected straight into a bag containing anticoagulant to stop the blood from clotting.  When the blood is needed straight away it is collected into a large heparinised syringe, kept warm and then given to the patient.  Stored blood is kept at 40c and warmed through to body temperature before use.

It takes between three and 10 minutes usually to complete the donation/collection of blood, after which the dog will be given a light meal, a drink and 30 minutes rest.  A dog unlike a human will not feel faint.  A dog can give 10 - 20 ml per kg of it's body weight every 10 days without a problem arising.  A 25kg (55lb) dog can donate 450ml of blood at each session, there is usually a 3 month gap between being called to donate.

A Final Note

  What better gift is there than the gift of life, I really can't think of one can you?

Bobby A Donor since the age of 2 years , sadly passed away in October 2007, forever missed and loved.

Remember Boxers can be donors too!

Charlie just starting out at 2 years old

We're so very proud of you both Mum & Dad xx

More information can be found at your veterinary practice, please speak with your veterinarian

 If you'd like to take a heart with you please click here, thank you

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