Blood Donor Day: meet the canine donors of the year!

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blood donor
Image by Rod Kirkpatrick/F Stop Press

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is celebrating World Blood Donor Day by honouring “the incredible animal superheroes” that donate to its blood donor programme. In the past year alone there have been almost 500 canine transfusions, many of them life-saving. 

The RVC Animal Care Trust has presented “Blood Donor of the Year” to both canine and feline blood donors. The canine award went to the Lines family’s three dogs: Cydney (German Shepherd and Rottweiler crossbreed), Bernie (St Bernard and Labrador crossbreed), and Dash Lines (German shepherd and Great Dane crossbreed).

All three dogs have just been retired as blood donors after seven years and 51 total donations, allowing over 100 transfusions to take place and helping with six bypass cases.  Sadly, Dash passed away earlier this year – making this award all the more special to the family.

Cydney, Bernie and Dash. Image courtesy of the Lines family.

Gill Lines said, “We are so thrilled to have been given this award, especially after losing Dash. We just love being a part of the blood transfusion team and it always feels so wonderful when we receive thank-yous from owners whose pets have been saved by our lovely boys.

“We have signed up a few friends to the scheme over the years and would recommend it to everyone. Our boys have loved the attention (and the food!) and we love that they are so well looked after and have their bloods checked regularly as a result. Now that our dogs are retired, we hope to be back with new family members in the future.”

Donors are given health checks before donations and a full blood screening is performed free of charge annually. Donors are also provided with a special blood donor tag to recognise their support, and each receives a special gift when they retire.

“Despite COVID-19 restrictions both pets and owners have risen to the challenge to ensure that vital blood donations continue to be available, and lives continue to be saved”

Charlotte Russo, Senior Transfusion Medicine RVN at the RVC, says,“Every year we are blessed with so many fabulous donors and every single one of them deserves the Blood Donor of the Year award. The Lines are a long-term, dedicated donor family who have been on the programme for years and their pets have helped countless patients during their time with us.

“We have always found appointments with these gentle giants thoroughly enjoyable. They were always easy and relaxed during donations and loved a snuggle! We were devastated to hear about Dash and hope this special award provides some much-needed joy and a wonderful way to celebrate Dash and the family’s incredible efforts.

“Despite COVID-19 restrictions both pets and owners have risen to the challenge to ensure that vital blood donations continue to be available, and lives continue to be saved. We are so proud of all of them and are so grateful for their support.”

The blood transfusion team is calling for more dogs to join the programme; particularly sought-after breeds are Greyhounds, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Airedale Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Flat-coated Retrievers, Boxers, Collies, and Labrador Retrievers.

If your dog meets the criteria to become a blood donor, contact the RVC Blood Donor team for further information.

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