You can make your pet a hero by having him or her donate blood at the vet every 3-4 months. We all know how important it is for humans to donate blood, but have you realised its just as important for our pets? When our pets are ill or injured they will more than likely need blood. Thats why so many pet parents are getting on board and alowing their pets to donate blood.
Blood transfusions are done on a regular basis in a veterinary practise for :
- Biliary (or tick bite fever),
- Blood loss due to trauma, and
- Severe worm burdens in puppies
are some of the common diseases why a dog may need a transfusion.
To become a blood donor your pet will need to fit a certain criteria:
- The donor must be healthy and well-tempered.
- Between 1-6 years of age and fully vaccinated.
- Over 26 kg of body weight to be able to donate 450 ml blood.
- Tick control measures must be up to date.
- If a heart murmur, seizures or any other chronic disease were diagnosed the dog is not fit for donation.
- If your pet previously received a blood donation it is not recommend to become a donor.
- Pets can donate blood every 3 months.
Animal blood banks are becoming more common in the cities. The blood is stored at bloodbanks around South Africa, to mention two:
- Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty in Pretoria, and
- Tygerberg Animal Hospital in Cape Town.
A typical donation takes about 10 to 30 minutes. The dog is placed on a table, normally laying on his side, while a technician gives him lots of love and attention. A small patch of fur on the dog’s neck is shaved, and a tiny needle is used to collect the blood. Most dogs don’t feel a thing, and are just thrilled for the extra love and attention.
As soon as blood is drawn, the dog’s body begins to produce more to replace it. Donors are given plenty of water and yummy snacks immediately after donating. While some dogs may be sluggish or weak after donating, others have no reaction at all – every dog is different. Overall, dogs recover much more quickly from a blood donation than humans do.
If you would like to get involved in a blood donation program ask your vet if you can register your pet as a donor and become a life saver.