Just like humans, dogs and cats may require a blood transfusion in serious illness or trauma.
Examples of when our pets may need blood are:
- Serious collision trauma causing blood loss
- Blood loss during surgery
- Clotting and bleeding disorders
- Ingestion of toxins that cause bleeding, such as rat bait and some snake bite toxins
Pets can help save the lives of other pets by donating blood. In order to donate blood, the pet’s owner must give consent, the pet must meet the physical requirements for donating blood, and their temperament needs to be suitable, so they will not be distressed by the procedure.
The Pet Blood Bank UK run many collection sessions across the country.
After each session, the blood is taken to their processing centre in Loughborough where it is separated into red blood cells and plasma products, and then stored ready for despatch.
They run an average of five sessions a week at veterinary practices and kennels, with over 11,000 lifesaving donors registered with the charity. Last year, they sent out over 5,000 units of blood and as transfusion medicine advances, the demand continues to grow. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, so far, they have been able to maintain this service with the use of a mobile collection unit and strict social distancing measures.
Every unit of blood can help save four other lives, saving thousands of lives every year.
Just like people, dogs have different blood types and when they need a transfusion, ideally a unit of the same blood type is given. Therefore, Pet Blood Bank UK manages its service very carefully by blood type to ensure they always have enough stock of each blood type.
Most dogs in the UK have DEA 1 positive blood type so we are very lucky they have several thousand positive blood type dogs on the donation programme. This means that the positive stock levels are usually very healthy. As such, dogs of this blood type will be invited to donate once or twice a year to ensure the service is managing stock levels whilst also giving everyone with a positive blood type dog the opportunity to come along to a session.
Only 30% of dogs eligible to donate in the UK have DEA 1 negative blood type. Demand for this blood type is also very high because it can be given to any dog in an emergency, which means the stocks are often low. To manage stock, negative blood type dogs will be invited to donate up to six times a year. This is also why the Pet Blood Bank UK need more dogs that are likely to have negative blood type to come forward and join the community.
Dog breeds more likely to be negative blood type are:
- Airedale Terriers
- American Bulldogs
- Border Collies
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- English Bull Terriers
- Flat Coated Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Old English Sheepdogs
Whether your dog is positive or negative blood type, every donation makes a big difference to other dog’s lives.
The sessions are run all over the country, to see which one is closest to us and when, take a look at the list below.