Our dog, August, turns nine today. Like every birthday since his first, he will be spoiled accordingly. However, this birthday has a halo of sadness to it. Because August is turning nine, he will have to retire as a blood donor with Community Pet Blood Bank. Saturday will be his 14th and final blood donation.
According to Community Pet Blood Bank, “transfusion medicine has become more prevalent in veterinary care. National animal blood banks do supply blood products but are often back ordered and out of product. We created our blood bank in 2004 to help fill this need.”
Currently the Community Pet Blood Bank only has 135 Dog and 67 Cat Donors
Toxin ingestion, trauma, auto-immune diseases, and heat stroke are among some of the most common reasons a dog or cat may require a blood transfusion. A transfusion may also be necessary for those preparing for or recovering from surgery.
How Pet Blood Donation Works
Dogs have a numbered blood typing system called Dog Erythrocyte Antigen (DEA) system. DEA 1.1 is the primary blood type, and dogs can be positive or negative. DEA 1.1 Negative is a universal blood type and is safe to be given to any other dog. On average, Greyhounds and German Shepherds have a higher chance of being negative blood type.
Cats have three different blood types: A, B, and AB. Type A is the most common with type B found in about 5% of the population. There is no universal blood type for cats.
For dogs, a donation appointment is approximately 30 minutes. This includes time for the donor to be examined and enjoy plenty of treats and copious amounts of affection. Owners remain with their dogs during their donation. Due to the size of their veins, Cats receive a local short-acting anesthetic and are dropped off for their donation. Cats are carefully monitored and only asleep during the time needed for the donation process.
The physical donation process is painless. Each dog donates approximately one pint, or two cups, at each donation. Each cat gives two ounces. The amount of blood taken is not enough to alter the donor’s health. Their body naturally replaces the red cells taken. Dogs and cats can safely donate every six weeks.
Becoming a Hero Pet Blood Donor
The Community Pet Blood Bank is always in need of new volunteer donors. Dogs can only donate until the age of nine and cats are limited to donating up to 15 times. This means active donors (like August) are unfortunately frequently having to retire. If you are interested in becoming a donor family, check the eligibility requirements below:
If your dog or cat meets the requirements reach out and schedule a prospective donor screening by contacting [email protected] or calling 206.364.1660.
August became a blood donor after our cat required an emergency blood transfusion after surgery. While ultimately Mischief lost his battle with cancer, the time we gained was priceless. Every blood donor helps to save lives, to ensuring a pet goes home to their family. The short amount of time it takes to donate is worth the countless time returned to families with their beloved pets.