You may have noticed that brands and companies have been removing the letters 'A', 'B' and 'O' from their names this week, all to raise awareness of blood donation, and the blood types in desperate need. Around 6,000 donations are needed every single day (and that's just in England alone!) to keep our human hospitals stocked and patients helped. But our pets sometimes need life-saving blood transfusions too, and your dog could be a hero!
Here is a helpful list for owners thinking of getting involved with this worthwhile process; this is a checklist that every prospective blood donor dog must meet to be eligible.
A dog must:
- Be aged between one and eight years old
- Weigh over 25kg
- Be in good health and not taking any medication
- Have never travelled abroad in their lifetime
- Have never received a transfusion themselves
- Be up-to-date on all their vaccinations
Doggie donors can be used up to three or four times a year. Like humans, dogs have different blood types too; in fact, there are 13 recognised blood types in dogs, but it's thought that between a third and a half of all the UK's dogs are 'universal recipients', meaning they will happily accept any blood type - handy! At a session up to 450ml is taken, and your dog will back to his or her normal self within 24 hours. Certain breeds, like brachycephalic Bulldogs, may be excluded because their oxygenation issues may make them unsuitable.
According to the charity Pet Blood Bank UK, over 1000 dogs needed a blood transfusion last year. Just like us, pets suffer trauma and disease and undergo surgeries where a blood transfusion is vital to survival.
Andrew Bucher, Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal, says, “Being told that your pet requires a blood transfusion is probably one of the last things an owner may expect to hear from a vet, yet it’s something that cannot be overlooked. Issues such as accidents, anaemia or leukaemia could result in your pet needing to be given a transfusion.
“Like humans, donating blood is something we may brush off and never get around to, but as you never know when your dog may need it, I’d urge all owners to speak to their vet or go online to see if their cat or dog is eligible.
“The blood donation process takes about 5 - 10 minutes, but you should allow for up to 30 - 40 minutes at a blood collection session. It’s simple, painless and you’ll be helping another pet across the UK.”
Find a Pet Blood Bank session near you here.
Featured image via Pet Blood Bank UK