Barking all the way to the blood bank

by Leanne Thompson on November 14, 2012

Millions of people donate blood on a regular basis as a way of helping those who might need a transfusion and it seems that dogs are now doing the same. To prevent dogs from losing large amounts of blood after an accident or form of surgery, a blood donation event was hosted by Pet Blood Bank UK on November 6. The event took place in Banbury, Oxfordshire at the Hawthorne Lodge Veterinary Practice.

During the session, local residents attended with their dogs to stop shortages from occurring in the future. The Blood Bank UK charity is well-known for visiting veterinary practices located throughout the United Kingdom and the practice involves gathering donations of 450ml, which is the same amount that a human would donate in a session. Since 2007, when the charity was founded, thousands of dogs’ lives have been saved and, because a single donation from a dog can save as much as four lives, the process is very important.

Debbie Leonard is a phlebotomist and veterinary nurse for the charity and she said:

“Donor welfare is always of paramount importance to us and if a dog is not happy or uneasy then we won’t proceed.”

To make the session as comfortable as possible for dogs who participated, including 16-month-old German shepherd cross breed Bruno, treats, toys and bandanas were given to the dogs. After each donation, the blood is refined into plasma and red cells, before being transferred to various UK-based veterinary establishments. Transfusions will then be used to treat diseases and blood loss following surgery.