Many humans donate blood every day to help save the lives of others, but did you know, your dog can donate blood can too? We didn’t either, until our Explorer Dobby stepped up and donated this week.
Like humans, animals need blood transfusions during surgery too, and your dog can donate blood to save other lives! In fact, every unit of blood can help save four other lives.
Pet Blood Bank UK is the only charity that provides a canine blood bank service for vets across the UK. Dobby shares his experience on how to donate blood with Pet Blood and how you can get involved.
Today Dobby saved a life!
He didn’t dive into a river to pull someone out. He didn’t fight his way through a fire. Dobby became a blood donor!
Have you ever considered where the blood comes from for the operations and life-saving blood transfusions that have to be done on your pet?
Dobby and I found an advert online from the Pet Blood Bank, asking for dogs prepared to be donors. So we looked into it to see how we could help.
Pet Blood Bank UK
Pet Blood Bank UK is the only charity that provides a canine blood bank service for vets across the UK. As part of their charitable remit, their aim is to advance animal health and welfare and to relieve suffering by providing quick and convenient access to blood.
Similar to the human blood service, dog owners kindly bring along their much loved canine companions to give blood at one of their many sessions across the country.
First off, Dobby received a health and suitability check with a physical examination and chat about his health history. Next up they took a small blood sample and run some tests to ensure Dobby was fit to donate. Of course, he passed with flying colours! Then we were shown to the donation area to collect about 450ml of Dobby’s blood.
After donating, dog’s have to stay for a little while to drink and eat to make sure all is okay. Then afterwards, Dobby received a goody bag with a tag and bandana saying “I’m a Lifesaver”, and (the most exciting part) a toy to take home.
Blood is then taken to the processing centre in Loughborough where it is separated and stored ready for dispatch.
Can My Dog Donate Blood?
If they hit the following the criteria, your dog can donate blood too. All dogs must be:
- Fit and healthy
- Between one and eight years old
- Weigh more than 25kg
- Have a good temperament
- Have never travelled abroad
- Not on any medication
Dogs from abroad are unable to become blood donors. There are a number of bloodborne diseases in dogs which are not yet prevalent in the UK. Therefore, it’s hoped that you can appreciate that they do not want to risk transferring any disease to their recipients. To test every dog for blood-borne diseases would be cost-prohibitive for the charity. Therefore, the policy is to only allow dogs that have not travelled outside UK and Eire or have not been imported to become blood donors. This policy ensures that they comply with their government license.
Donor Welfare is always the first priority when considering blood donation. Therefore the decision to exclude a small number of specific dog breeds from the PBB donation programme has been made.
- English Bulldogs despite their lovely natures. Due to their body shape and brachycephalic skull they cannot be comfortably be restrained on their side and retain optimum oxygenation during the donation process.
- Chow Chows have pigmented mucous membranes. This does not allow for assessment of their mucous membrane colour around donation – which is a key part of the assessment.
- Dogs that are registered under the “dangerous dogs act”
- Although more than aware that breed-specific legislation is not in any way an assessment of an individual dog. Those of the below breeds or their crosses – due to their requirement to be muzzled in public (and therefore around the process of donation) are excluded as donors: Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro.
Safeguarding the donor’s health and welfare is central to their ethos. Their licence requires a comprehensive vaccination policy, as the donated units of blood are usually used on critically ill patients.
Blood units can also be used to treat dogs who are ill due to contracting diseases that can be successfully vaccinated against. Therefore they advocate individual preventative healthcare hand in hand with your own veterinary surgeon.
Find Your Nearest Blood Bank
To find more information on how you can help save lives just like Dobby, visit petbloodbankuk.org.