Donor search begins, to offer lifeline for your pets As you may well be aware we are renewing our appeal for blood donors for our register. Our previous campaign at the end of 2006 was very successful but naturally we need to ensure our register is up to date and that we have enough sources to call upon in an emergency, without having to use staff pets or our surgery cats every time! We have launched an appeal for fourlegged friends to bolster our blood donor list to help save other pets’ lives. Apart from staff pets and Jack and Smokey, only 2 cats and 2 dogs are currently registered to give blood but we are desperate to swell numbers. Blood transfusions between pets, is a common procedure, with road accidents and medical conditions requiring donations. We perform about one transfusion every month but many of the animals on the register at the moment are staff pets and can donate just once every three months. Coupled with the fact, that each animal can give blood only up to a certain age, the recruitment of more donors has become critical. We use the Pet Blood Bank if we have no other choice but this can be time consuming and as most cases are usually emergencies it makes so much more sense if we have donors readily available. Dudley Hospital Vet Helen Guy said, “Cats are classified as having either A or B blood groups, whilst dogs have 11 different blood types, with the majority falling into two categories. Unlike humans, dogs can receive blood from any group in an emergency but subsequent donations need to be compatible or the recipient can experience trembling and shock-like symptoms. Although some dogs have rarer blood groups, we have only dogs with one type of blood, on our register at the moment. Pets suffer only mild discomfort when giving their pint of blood with the best
donors being larger animals with placid temperaments and good health. We’ve previously been using a very small circle of animals belonging mainly to staff but the more we have, the less frequently we need to use each dog or cat” Helen said. “If someone is on holiday, we can ring around to find another donor and with more names on the register, we would have more chance of identifying a donor quickly if a pet is an unusual type. Ideally we would have two or more dogs with the rarer blood types to fall back on, if necessary,” she added. Although it is unethical to pay owners for donating their pet’s blood, the practice offers a £20 voucher to be used against any treatment or purchase as a ‘thank you’ for giving such a priceless gift. At the end of the day, it is the knowledge of helping save another pet’s life. That is the real reward and what most people who do this, are so proud of. Anyone interested in nominating their pet as a donor should call the Dudley Hospital on 01384 252509 or contact any of the branch surgeries.
For your pet to give blood, he or she must be: • In good health and fully vaccinated • Average weight or above but not obese • Available to come into the surgery at short notice • Roughly between one and eight years old What your pet can expect if placed on the donor register: • A blood test to establish health and compatibility • Cats receive a free FELV and FIVI test to rule our feline leukaemia and feline aids prior to a donation • A simple procedure where anaesthetic is not always needed • No more than one donation within three months