Companion Animal

Animal Blood Donation: How Your Pet Can Help Save Lives

Jul 21 • 2 minute read

When a pet is involved in a serious accident, contracts an illness, or undergoes surgery, they may need a blood transfusion to aid recovery. However, this can be difficult as there is currently a nationwide shortage of pet blood. Your pet can save lives by donating blood to your nearest veterinary blood bank. Read on for more information about how your pet can help other pets in need.

Types of Blood in Pets

Like humans, pets also have different blood types. The most common type of blood for dogs is DEA 1.1, but there are over eight different blood types in canines. DEA 4 is a universal donor for dogs, much like blood type “O” negative is in humans. Dogs can donate blood once every month.

On the other hand, there are only four types of blood in cats. Additionally, cats do not have a universal donor. A large number of cats have blood type A. Blood type AB cannot donate blood to the other types but can receive blood from type A or type AB. Cats can only donate once every eight weeks.

Requirements for Pet Blood Donation

Unfortunately, not every pet can donate blood. There are specific requirements that each animal must meet before becoming a donor. For your dog to be a blood donor, it has to be between one and eight years old, be free of diseases, and weigh at least 35 pounds. Your dog should have received all the right vaccinations and must not have had any blood transfusions. Before donating blood, your dog goes through mandatory blood, infectious diseases, and blood-typing screening.

For your cat to be a donor, it must be between the ages of one and eight, weigh no less than nine pounds, and have received all vaccinations. Just like dogs, the cat must never have had a blood transfusion, and the vet will complete a blood and infectious disease screening.

What Happens During Blood Donation?

At the clinic, you will be required to fill out a form on the health history of your pet. Your pet will then be weighted to ensure they have the required weight. A technician examines them to make sure there are no underlying health conditions that may complicate blood donation. Your pet is then screened for blood type and the percentage of red blood cells present.

After ensuring all vaccinations are up to date, your vet may administer a tranquilizer to help your pet stay calm. Once your pet is calm, the technician will draw blood into a donation bag. The blood donation process is painless and takes about five to ten minutes.

Helping Save Pet Lives

Though the amount can vary depending on the weight of your pet, the standard amount of blood collected from dogs is around 16 ounces and three tablespoons from cats. As little as 18 ounces of blood can save the lives of up to four dogs.

Many pet hospitals are waiting for almost six weeks to receive any blood from vet clinics. Therefore, they are looking for new donors every day. Sign up with your nearest vet clinic to register your pet as a blood donor.

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