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Did you know that dogs can donate blood just like humans? Founded in 2007 by Veterinary Nurse Wendy Barnett, Pet Blood Bank UK is the only charity in the UK that provides a national canine blood bank. Their products and services are available to all UK veterinary professionals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ensuring that blood is accessible when it is needed most.
Like people, sick and injured animals may need blood transfusions and, in many cases, blood transfusions can save a pet's life. Every dog that donates makes a huge difference as each unit of blood collected has the potential to help save up to four other dogs.
Pet Blood Bank hosts donation sessions across the country, five days a week, and currently has over 9,000 registered donors. As transfusion medicine advances, though, demand continues to grow so keeping up supplies is vital.
The donation sessions run very similarly to the human blood service. Dogs are checked first by a vet to ensure they are healthy before giving their donation. The donation itself takes 5-10 minutes and afterwards, they get some food and a toy and treats to take home. They also have their photo taken in their ‘I’m a Lifesaver’ bandana for the charity’s social media pages as well as getting lots of fuss and attention from staff.
To become a lifesaving donor your dog must meet the following criteria:
Angel, a 2-year-old beagle from Staffordshire, was recently rushed to the vets with suspected rat bait poisoning. Angel was in a critical condition and needed blood urgently. Following two blood transfusions, Angel is now back to her playful self. Angel’s dad Simon said, ‘We had never heard of Pet Blood Bank UK and hadn’t really given much thought to what happens if a dog needs blood urgently. We are so grateful to the vet, the donors and their owners without whom Angel would probably not be with us today.’
Angel owes her life to Tio and Fergie, two regular blood donors with Pet Blood Bank. Tio’s owner Sue Crane said, ‘I was so pleased to hear that Tio’s donation helped save another dog’s life. Tio is a very happy dog, his tail is always wagging even when he is giving blood, so I know he enjoys it. He is always excited on blood donation days as it means lots of people making a fuss of him, extra food and he gets to choose a toy to take home!’
Asked what advice she would give to owners of potential donor dogs, Fergie’s owner Pauline Dixon said, ‘Registering your dog as a potential donor is so worthwhile. The Pet Blood Bank staff are so helpful and good with the dogs, always ensuring that the donor is happy and relaxed throughout the donation process. It’s such a positive experience so please go online and register as I did with Fergie.’
She added: ‘Fergie is a typical Labrador, he lives life to the full and falls in love with everyone he meets. Fergie loves all the attention and treats he gets when he attends a donation session.’
Special thanks to the Doggy Dream Team who produced this image in conjunction with the Pet Blood Bank.
If you are interested in registering your dog to become a lifesaver, please visit www.petbloodbankuk.org or call 01509 232222.