Dogs and cats, like humans, sometimes need blood tranfusions. Examples of when this is needed include some medical conditions that cause anaemia, rat bait poisoning, and classically, traumatic accidents leading to blood loss.
Loki was dying from internal blood loss
Loki the terrier was a classic example: after being run over, his spleen had been torn internally, and he had lost so much blood that his life was ebbing away. The only way to give him a reasonable hope of pulling through was to replace the blood he had lost with a transfusion of blood from another dog so that he could safely have a major operation to remove his damaged spleen.
There is no national canine blood service in Ireland
In the UK there’s a blood donation and storage service for dogs, like the human one in Ireland. In this country, like in most countries around the world, vets in practice need to source blood for their patients directly from other animals whenever it’s needed. Many vets keep a list of patients whose owners have offered their pets to donate blood if needed.
Charlie is the ideal blood donor
Charlie the black Labrador Retriever is a great example of the perfect blood donor. He is big (over 25kg) and he is a calm and friendly enough to sit quietly while a pint of blood is collected from one of his veins.
Charlie has donated blood twice: so he has saved two animals’ lives so far. We hope not to call on him again: there are many other dogs whose owners have offered their services. But it’s reassuring to know that Charlie is always there, just in case of another unexpected emergency.
contact your vet if you think your dog would be a good blood donor
Would your dog be a suitable candidate to be a blood donor? If you think so, talk to your local vet about putting him on your local doggy donor list.