Man’s best friend can now be dog’s best friend with the rising popularity and support for dog blood transfusions.
The UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital is looking for up to 12,000 eligible canines to donate their blood and save the lives dogs in need.The procedure is highly beneficial to dogs that have experienced complications during surgery or a life threatening injury and is now being offered free of charge to pet-owners.
“Having your dog be a blood donor is a direct application to supporting other dogs,” said Dr.Sean Owens,medicaldirector of the blood bank and head of the Transfusion Medicine Service at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. “There aren’t that many ways to get involved with health of other dogs,butthe blood your dog gives saves another dog’s life.“
Until February,the blood bank only had the resources to attain blood from un-adoptable dogs,which they kept in kennels and trained to be adoptable.Now with over$800,000in outside donations,the blood bank can give dogs from the community a physical examination and draw blood free of charge.
“Student [pet owners] are great for this kind of thing,” Owens said of the free physical and health screening dogs receive before donating.“The cost of education is expensive so we can save a student$400inhealth care for their dog.“
The blood bank also boasts the ambitious goal of screening a range of1,000to12,000dogs in the next year.So far they have screened approximately100dogs and expect rising publicity to increase the number.For every successful unit of dog blood drawn,up to four injured dogs can be helped.
Dog blood transfusions are almost exactly like human blood donations in that patients are not sedated and if the patient feels uncomfortable around needles,the procedure will cease.Furthermore dogs must also be between1and8humanyears of age,weigh at least55pounds,never have had puppies and not be pregnant.
Janet Crooks,aDavis resident who recently took her dog to the hospital to donate blood,said the experience was a positive one for both her and her dog.
“They were so great with him,” Crooks said.“I think he had more doggie treats in the time it took him to donate blood than he had in his whole life.“
Crooks said that her dog was slightly tired for about an hour after the procedure,after which he was back to normal.
“There‘s always a huge shortage of blood,so when UC Davis gets community blood,that just makes more blood available for other dogs,” said Pat Kaufman,owner of Animal Blood Bank Inc.,a company that sells blood to the UC Davis blood bank,in addition to UC Davis’s outpatient program.
The program is unique in its ability to screen not only dog blood,but also fetal stem cells and bone marrow.In addition,it screens and transfuses bloods for other animals such as cats,llamas,goats,sheep and pigs – what Owens calls “the best equipped veterinary blood bank at university level.“
TheUC Davis Veterinary Blood Bank is open Mondays,Wednesdays and Fridays for donations and is located in the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital,room164.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.