pet-blood-bankAfter a long conversation with one of my nieces, I learned that there is program where your pet could be a blood donor to help solve a major shortage of blood for animals. We have all heard of the importance to donate blood to save the lives of others, but have you considered permitting man’s best friend to be a donor? Every single day there are dogs that need blood transfusions and without dog donors, veterinary surgeons would not be able to perform these life saving procedures.

The idea of collecting, maintaining and making blood products available to veterinarians is a fairly new concept and there are already several blood banks open for business throughout the country. As most of us know, our pets are like a member of the family and people are willing to do whatever is necessary for the health of their dog. Illnesses and injuries that used to mean certain death for our pets now have viable choices thanks to these blood banks for dogs.

Some blood banks house and care for retired greyhounds. The greyhounds donate blood while they are waiting to be placed in permanent homes. Other blood banks rely on community members who voluntarily bring their dogs in to donate blood. Canine blood drives are promoted, just like your local human blood bank would do, to advance awareness and increase the donations.

Before your dog can be a donor, certain qualifications must be met. Your dog must be friendly and have a healthy weight of over 50 pounds. Blood screening tests are performed as well as a physical examination. The blood screening tests are expensive and often, you will need to make a commitment to be a regular donor to offset these expenses.

But let us not give all of the credit to Fido because cats are eligible to donate blood as well. Cats must also be friendly and weigh over ten pounds. Donating only takes about 15 to 30 minutes and dogs rarely need to be sedated while cats are usually treated to a light sedative. Either afterwards or during the donation, an IV is usually inserted to replace fluids and keep your pet well hydrated.

Ask your veterinarian about blood bank services that may be available in your community or check out the Animal Blood Bank. If there are none, this may be a great opportunity to start a movement for a great cause.

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