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Just like us, dogs sometimes need blood to treat an injury, a lifesaving surgery, toxicity treatment or may even need a transfusion.  Just one unit of canine blood can potentially save the lives of 3 critically ill dogs.

The University of Queensland’s VETS Small Animal Hospital has a blood donation program which helps to save dogs and increase awareness. It is every dog parent’s worst nightmare to find their dog struck with illness, or a car, so dog blood donations are vital. Most of us know friends or family who’ve had a dog with a serious condition requiring a blood transfusion.

Gary Fitzgerald is lead nurse at the program and he explains that many vet clinics do not have the facilities which would allow them to store blood, so most have to order it as needed.  Just as there are multiple blood types in humans, there are 11 blood types in canines. There is always a need for blood in a veterinarian setting (just as there is in any hospital for people).  It is critical for animals to receive a blood type compatible with their own.

Dog blood donations are similar to human donations whereby a screening process needs to be passed. A health check is conducted. There also needs to be enough haemoglobin and for the dog to be the correct weight range. Dog blood donors are usually 1 to 6 years old, with a calm temperament, weighing above 25 kilograms and up to date with vaccinations and all worming prevention. Then after the donation, the dog is given lots of treats and TLC.

Animals should not be kept ‘solely as a blood donors’ and that’s why it’s so important to have volunteer donors.

To find out more or if you are interested in signing up for the program please contact University of Queensland Vets Small Animal Hospital (07) 5460 1788 or email uqvets.sa@uq.edu.au

Leah & Angela O’Meara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)