A lot of dogs have an anxiety-provoking experience when it comes to going to the vet. Some shake while others can become physically sick. However, for a Husky mix named Glitch, going to the vet is no problem. This rescue dog actually likesPet Blood Bank the doctors. When he was a puppy, Glitch was very sick and had to make many vet visits. Because of this, he became the perfect patient. Now older and stronger, he has become a dog blood donor through the UK charity , saving the lives of fellow animals, one pint at a time. Your dog could have Glitch flowing through their veins.
But Glitch isn’t the only dog giving blood. Plenty of pups are stepping up to make sure vets have everything they need in case of emergency. Like humans, animals need transfusions as well. Unfortunately, there aren’t many national canine blood banks or commercial operations that supply blood. Want to get involved? Here’s what happens and how you could save a life.
Does my dog have a blood type? Does it matter?
Glitch’s owner, Kari Sparham, was interested in donating blood for other animals. Cruising a Reddit forum one day, he stumbled upon a thread about pet blood donations that sparked a worry in his mind.
“There was a comment in which a user was talking about their dog who had been involved in an accident, and their vet didn’t know the dog’s blood group,” Sparham told The Dodo. “He effectively had to choose what blood to transfuse at random, which could have had fatal consequences.”
There are five major dog blood groups, and also includes a universal blood donor similar to “O negative”. Greyhounds are frequently used because the breed tends to have the type of blood that can be used for all dogs with minimal reactions.
Vets will test for DEA (dog erythrocyte antigen) 1.1 negative and positive when checking blood types. Dogs who present as DEA 1.1 positive are considered universal recipients. Those who test negative are considered universal donors. Negative blood types, which are more common in breeds such as Dobermans, boxers, German shepherds, greyhounds, Airedale terriers and Weimaraners, are often in demand by blood banks — though almost any dog can donate and make a difference.
Can your dog be a blood donor?
Nelly and Patti – 10th donation for Nelly and 1st donation for Patti – well done!
Each donation program will have slightly different criteria for its donors. They also take into account your dogs’ health and size. If he/she are scared of the vet, they should definitely stay home – even if they meet one or all criteria. Glitch met all the criteria to become a canine blood donor for Pet Blood Bank. He was “fit and healthy” with a good temperament, between 1 and 8 years old, fully vaccinated, parasite-free and over 55 pounds. Most hospitals will do a screening to check for any blood-borne illnesses, and require that a dog is not on any medication (besides heartworm and flea prevention).
For those who are frequent blood donors, they can donate four to six times a year. Pets, of course, are able to donate up to every three weeks.
How long does the process take?
Typically, donations will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes from start to finish, with the actual donation only lasting for 10 minutes. To sweeten the deal, some vets will offer your pet a free health check, or even monetary compensation.
When it was time for Glitch to donate blood, the process was surprisingly quick. He was led back to the donation room and laid on his side. One assistant monitored his pulse, making sure he there were no signs of distress. Two others inserted the needle and comforted the pup. Blood is then taken from the large jugular in the neck. Dogs don’t tend to experience any side effects besides occasional slight swelling where the blood was drawn.
Once his procedure was finished, Glitch was given a treat, food and a toy!
Will it hurt my dog?
No anesthesia is needed during the blood donation process. Afterwards it will not affect a dog’s energy levels or activities. Sparham and his pup Glitch found the experience to be generally pleasant.
“Glitch seemed to enjoy the experience,” Sparham said. “At no point did he become submissive or fearful, and seemed happy with all the fuss he was receiving, which was helped by the familiarity of the venue and the staff.”
Sparham is happy to spread the word far and wide. “In a few weeks I’d like to have a ‘Blood Donor’ label for Glitch’s harness,” Sparham added, “and side bags filled with leaflets!”
Where do I sign my dog up to donate?
To register your dog to be a canine blood donor, locate a pet blood bank near you or contact your local veterinary hospital and find out how you can help a dog in need. Will your dog be donating blood today?
Featured Image via screencapture from website The Dodo