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animal will need more than one transfusion. How much blood an animal needs depends on its size and on the procedure. The cost of a transfusion then can vary, but in general De Marco says it runs about $500-$600 for a small dog and $800-$900 for a large dog. Then there is the cost of the diagnostics to determine the problem, the surgery and medications, which easily bring the total cost up to several thousand dollars. “There are a considerable number of people who have to make the very tough choice not to take life saving measures for their pet because they can’t afford to do so,” says De Marco. “Pet owners have to weigh the dog’s age, its quality of life, The love of a their quality of life and their finances.” dog can impact You can purchase insurance to cover children in pet emergencies, but De Marco says ways that are that’s not the norm. Most people do not have insurance for their pets. priceless. The Pet Emergency Clinic performs Wardrop says in the mid about 100 transfusions a year on both dogs 1990s more pet blood banks were and cats. Other veterinary clinics in Spokane set up around the country. It’s now much also perform transfusions but they do not more common for the larger metropolitan collect blood. The emergency clinic acts areas to have a bank. The need for pet as the only animal blood bank in Spokane. donors still remains, she says. To donate Veterinarians there began the program in blood, a dog must be 60 pounds, between 2008 with the help of the pet blood donor the ages of one and six, and be blood typed program at Washington State University’s to see if the animal qualifies. “The benefit Veterinary Teaching Hospital and its direcfor dog owners is free annual blood work tor of transfusion services, Dr. Jane Wardrop. for their pet,” says to De Marco. Not to menThat program, begun in 1988, was one of tion the feel good factor of helping someone a handful across the country that received else’s four legged family member, like Lisa grant money to build up a donor pool and Rosier’s. explore different ways to optimize blood. Cosmo has a special role at the Rosier/ The grant, says Wardrop, allowed their new Nielson household, so bringing him back to program to expand and purchase machinery life with the transfusions meant more than for the lab. Until the Pet Emergency Clinic just keeping the family pet alive. Along with started its blood bank six years ago, the WSU Zulu and Tunka, Cosmo is best friend to bank was the only one in the region and the couple’s special needs adult child, Brian, often sent blood products to Spokane. The who has a rare chromosomal disorder. He donor program at WSU performs around was born with a disorder of the 22nd chro150 transfusions a year. That’s 150 pets getmosome called Partial Translocation 22, on ting a second chance at life. the 22nd of the month at 2:22. Twenty-two “We do this because we like to save lives,” may be his lucky number, but his life has says Wardrop. “I’m a veterinarian, I love been challenging. A 35 year-old who has animals. Seeing the joy an animal brings to the intellectual capacity of an 18 month to its owner’s life is all the reason to do what 2 year-old, Brian doesn’t walk, but crawls, is we do. I get to send a pet home to be with its deaf, doesn’t speak, is in diapers, and needs little boy owner!” 54

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full time care. He has, however, developed his own language according to Rosier. “The dogs understand his language and he seems to understand theirs. The communication between them is almost surreal. Brian is a very spiritual person in a sense. What he lacks in one area he makes up for in another. He has a type of sixth sense, as do the dogs with him. Brian also has sensory issues so it’s truly a miracle that Brian reaches for and pets the dogs, and allows them to nudge and cuddle with him. You can’t put a price on that.” With a lifetime of advocating for Brian and serving as his voice, it is a natural extension for the couple to also advocate for their pets. “We have to stand up and speak for them because they can’t speak for themselves, just like a person who can’t do so,” says Rosier. “Please consider your pet as a blood donor; the life you save may be your own pet’s.” For more information on donating your pet’s blood contact either WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital http://www.vetmed.wsu. edu/depts-vth/Donors/ or the Pet Emergency Clinic of Spokane located at 21 East Mission Avenue, Spokane, WA 99202. Phone (509) 326-6670

Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living 102  
Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living 102  
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