Piper Street Veterinary clinic has a blood donor program which helps us keep a supply of blood available for ill dogs and cats whom would not otherwise survive without a blood donation. We are always in search of new potential donors. The most frequently asked questions about our blood donation program are answered below.
How blood is used and who will benefit from my dog’s blood?
Blood transfusions are used in dogs that have lost whole blood, are anaemic or are having trouble forming clots. This can happen with the following:
Big bleeds from trauma
Toxins - Rat Bait, Snake Bite, Onion Toxicity
Anaemia caused by cancer or worms
Do dogs have blood types?
Just like people, dogs also have blood types! There are 7 different blood types or ‘DEAs’: DEA 1, DEA 3, DEA 4, DEA 5, DEA 6, DEA 7, DEA 8. Each blood type can be ‘positive’ or negative’.In the clinic, we can only test for DEA 1 blood type, most other blood types are rare. The universal donor of dogs is DEA 1 Negative as this blood can be given to most dogs.
What happens during a donation?
Similarly to blood donation in people, on arrival you will be asked questions about your dog’s health and a physical examination will be performed. We may run a blood test if deemed necessary. Your dog will be made comfortable on our donation table, some local anaesthetic will be applied and a needle will be passed into a vein. The donation takes about 15 minutes. Once a unit of blood is collected your dog will receive a meal and be able to go home. The whole process will take about an hour.
What are the possible risks for donor dogs?
Low blood pressure, bruising and/or dermatitis are possible consequences of donating blood. These are unlikely to occur and every precaution is taken to avoid such events.
What are the expectations of donor families?
By signing up to our doggy donor program you will join a register to be called during business hours when our blood bank requires a unit. You will be asked if you are happy to come in after-hours as blood transfusions can be required in an emergency in the night or on weekends. Your dog may donate every 3 months, if required, without any negative consequences.
Is my dog eligible?
To be eligible your dog must :
be between 1 and 8 years old
weigh at least 23kg
be quiet and easy to handle
be up to date with vaccinations, deworming as well as flea/tick/heartworm prevention
have never received a blood transfusion
be fit and healthy
has never participated in pig hunting