Have you ever been in the scary position of taking your dog to the emergency vet clinic after he or she was hit by a car? Or maybe you are planning risky surgery for your dog, and you want the peace of mind of knowing that there is blood available should your dog need a transfusion.
I never knew there were canine blood banks, but the good folks at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine actually operate a mobile blood draw unit to keep their blood bank filled up.
From their website: Penn Vet was the first to have an animal bloodmobile and blood bank, with a cumulative total of 7,000 donor canines, and well as in-house cat donors. The hospital’s animal bloodmobile makes trips to blood drives two to three times a week. About 1,000 dogs are active donors.
One pint of blood from your dog could save three other dogs’ lives. To donate, your dog must be younger than 8 years old and weigh at least 55 pounds. The dogs are not sedated to draw their blood, and if they choose not to participate, no one forces them.
North Carolina State University also operates a blood bank at their vet facility in Raleigh, and this is apparently a young, but growing field.
From the American Association of Veterinary Blood Banks: The AAVBB is inclusive of international, nation wide, regional and local veterinary blood centers and blood banks, veterinary transfusion and transplantation services, veterinary hospitals that provide blood donor programs, veterinary blood testing facilities, manufacturers of transfusion or related veterinary medical products and individuals involved in activities related to transfusion and transplantation medicine, and blood testing. The AAVBB supports high standards of medical, technical and administrative performance, scientific investigation, clinical application and education. It is dedicated to encouraging veterinary blood banking, donation of blood and other tissues and organs through education, public information and research. The association is currently undertaking the development of certification programs for facilities and phlebotomists.
This topic kind of caught my fascination – look for an article soon on doggies.com going into more detail. (Starting my research this week!)
Good to know this resource exists! You never know when your dog might be the one who needs blood. Please consider donating if your dog meets the criteria. I looked for a comprehensive listing of canine blood banks, but couldn’t find one. If you’re so inclined, you might ask your vet for a referral to a location nearest you.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!