Similar to humans, sometimes our pets require life-saving blood products. In the Pet Intensive Care Unit at Underwood, we have developed a blood donor program to assist with the collection and storage of these products so that they are on hand as required.
Due to the short lifespan of blood products and their importance in the treatment of a number of ailments, a steady supply of donors help maintain the program so we can assist those when they really need it.
What Type of Blood Products?
There are three main types of blood products that are used routinely within veterinary medicine – Whole Blood, Packed Red Blood Cells, and Plasma. They all have their own use depending on the disease process of the patient, and they all have their own lifespan, with Whole blood being the shortest, and plasma having the longest.
Who Needs a Transfusion?
There are several indications for transfusions in animals. These include severe physical trauma with acute blood loss such as being hit by a car, coagulopathies (clotting disorders), including but not limited to snake envenomation, liver disease, rodenticide ingestion, poisoning,
Who Can Donate?
All potential donors are screened to ensure the process will be suitable for all parties involved. However there are a couple of traits that would be ideal in a donor.
> Great general health
> 25kg or above
> 1 – 8 years
> Calm Temperament
> Up to date on vaccinations, worming and other preventatives.
Donors are generally only required every three months, depending on supply and demand.
Prior to any donation, a blood test is taken to ensure your pet is able to donate.
You are able to stay with your pet the entire time, if you desire, and provide support, lots of pats and encouragement (maybe even a little treat).
The blood collection itself takes approximately 5 minutes, with you being in the clinic for approximately 20-30 minutes, at a time that is suitable for everyone involved.
The collection is taken from the jugular vein (located on the neck), and there will be a small area of hair clipped and prepped for sanitary purposes.
After the collection, a bandage is placed over the site and we are done. Your dog should avoid any strenuous exercise for 24 hours, but they are allowed plenty of fresh water, a good meal and plenty of affection for doing such an amazing job.