Dogs and cats sometimes need blood transfusions just like people. They may suffer blood loss due to trauma, surgery, bleeding ulcers, severe intestinal diease or cancer and need blood as a life saving measure. While it is difficult to safely collect from and transfuse blood into a cat, in dogs we are very fortunate that, for the first time at least, dogs can generally receive donor blood without cross matching.
While dogs and cats do have blood types, dogs do not carry anti-bodies against other blood groups and so have a very low rate of transfusion reactions. After receiving blood they will then make antibodies that could react with transufes blood but luckly most dogs will only ever need blood products once.
There is a Canine Blood Bank based out of Melbourne University but unfortunately in Darwin we are too far away to benefit from this. At Darwin My Vet Service we have established a Blood Donor Register for Dogs.
To qualify the dog must:
*be over 25kg
*in good health
*less than eight years old
*on regular heartworm prevention.
Interested dog owners can be placed on the register and give consent for us to collect blood from their pet in the event a patient may need blood.
If we have the need for blood we call our list of donors to see who may be available for collection. The donor is admitted to the hospital for a day or half day, undergoes a health check and screening blood test for red cell count, protein and heartworm. Most donors require some sedation to permit collection ( it is important for them to be still!). All donors receive intravenous fluids and a hearty meal after donation.
Donor dogs are best rested for at least three days after donation but most are unaffected by donation and are just a little drowsy for that day from the sedative.
Donor dogs have saved several patients at our clinic over the past years. The program enables us to offer a life saving treatment to critical animals. The recipient and their owner are always very grateful!
Call us now on 8927 3657 if you would like to register your dog as a donor.