Dog and cat blood donors needed

By Joe Musielak, DVM; Animal Emergency, Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital

We all know that donating blood—our blood, that is—can save a human life. Well, blood donations from cats and dogs can be equally lifesaving, as ill or injured pets frequently require blood transfusions during surgery and post-operative treatment. What’s more, donated blood can be separated into several medically useful components. For example, red blood cells from donated blood can treat anemia in dogs and cats, while proteins isolated from the donated plasma can help staunch bleeding in pets that suffer from clotting-factor deficiencies. In fact, one unit of donated canine blood can potentially save the lives of four other dogs, while one unit of donated feline blood holds the promise of saving two cats.

Dog CatAccordingly, blood donations from eligible dogs and cats are in high demand. Unfortunately, the supply is limited. Which is why Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital has established a dog and cat blood-donor program. And while Rover or Tiger might not get the altruistic satisfaction that comes with doing something selfless, tangible rewards await both your blood-donor pet and you.

Requirements for donors
(unless specified, apply to both cats and dogs)

  • Age: Between 1 and 7 years old
  • Weight: Dogs, at least 55 pounds; cats, at least 12 pounds
  • Lifestyle: Cats must be indoor only, without exception
  • Medical history:
  • Current on vaccinations
  • Never had a whole blood or blood plasma transfusion o In good health
  • On effective flea preventative
  • Spayed or neutered (with known reproductive history)

Participant tests and benefits
If your pet meets the requirements above and you wish to participate in our program, we will run the following tests free of charge:

  • Blood typing
  • Complete blood chemistry and complete blood count (CBC)
  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal parasite screen
  • Infectious disease panel
  • Heartworm detection (dogs only)
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and feline leukemia virus detection (cats only)

If these tests come back negative, your pet qualifies for the program. In return for a minimum of three blood donations a year, your cat or dog will receive the following free healthcare benefits after one year’s participation:

  • Annual wellness exam
  • Vaccinations, including FVRCP in cats and DHPL and rabies in dogs, but excluding
  • feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and rabies in cats
  • Urinalysis
  • Complete blood chemistry and complete blood count (CBC panel 2)
  • Fecal parasite screen
  • Blood transfusions if required later in life

Not to mention the good feeling that you’ll get from knowing that you and your pet have potentially helped save the lives of other beloved pets.

Don’t delay: the need is urgent and the rewards are abundant, so get your four-legged lifesaver enrolled in the Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital blood-donor program now!