Many of us have donated blood during times of national or regional emergencies. These donations save lives – and this is the same scenario which occurs with veterinary care.
Dog blood donors provide blood for dogs requiring surgery or other procedures. As a surgical center, we have a need for canine blood and several WestVet employee pets have met the donor qualifications. These pets donate blood about every six weeks to ensure an adequate supply for the animals seeking treatment at WestVet.
The procedure may sound a little scary, but the entire donation process, from start to finish, takes around thirty minutes.
In the picture above, Cricket, an 18-month-old Pit Bull is donating blood for the second time. She is a WestVet pet, adopted/rescued by one of our technicians. In order to be a donor, dogs undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they have no diseases which could be passed on to the recipient dogs.
The process is very similar to humans giving blood. After a small area is shaved and disinfected, topical pain medication ensures a pain-free experience for the dog. As the blood is collected, technicians carefully monitor the volume to ensure the proper amount is obtained.
Once the draw is complete, the leg is bandaged. Other than a small hairless patch, and a slight bruise, dogs exhibit no adverse responses to donating. In fact, Cricket’s owner says she has not had any negative reaction to donating.
One reason that dog blood donors are so important is that canine blood only has a shelf-life of 30 to 35 days. Thus, the supply needs to be regularly replenished so it is readily available when needed.
In order to fill this need for Treasure Valley pets, a local veterinarian, Dr. Chad Hunt, DVM, Bench Animal Hospital, established Canine Blood Heroes right here in Boise. The donor dogs he works provide a reliable blood supply for dogs and these “heroes” are saving dog’s lives in the Treasure Valley.
Your dog may be eligible to take part in the program. Here are the stipulations from Canine Blood Heroes:
Donor dogs must be:
- Healthy and Happy
- Greater than 50 lbs
- Between 1-7 yrs old
- Able to lay still for 10 minutes
- Committed for at least 2 years
Under the program, owners can bring in their dogs to donate nearly a pint of blood as often as once every eight weeks. Donors are compensated with $50 for veterinary care.
Please contact them directly if you have any questions about donations or want to have your dog tested to become a hero; 208.310.2428.