It is very common in all parts of the United States to hear about being a blood donor so you can help save lives. That same notion is becoming true of dogs as veterinary medicine is making advances in the available ways to help other dogs. Your dog could be one of the 40% that are considered universal donors, possibly being the one to save at least two other dogs lives. The process requires little or no recovery time and only takes about 10 minutes, but it can impact another dog for the rest of its life.
One such canine donor is Sparkle, a California-based rescue Greyhound who donates blood once a month. Sparkle has already helped countless dogs have a new take on life with her blood donations, including Oscar de la Blue, who battled a dangerous dog virus. Sparkle’s owner, Mary Beth Bartel, says, “For every unit of blood that she gives, she will help at least two other dogs, it’s really rewarding.” Since Sparkle has already donated 30 units of blood, she has helped 60 other dogs.
There are certain requirements for dogs to become canine donors, including:
-Should be at least 1 year old
-Should weigh at least 55 pounds
-Have a pleasant personality
The process is relatively simple, and is an out-patient procedure. Blood is taken from the jugular vein, the large vein that runs along the neck. Giving blood will not hinder your dogs normal activities, but you may want to let him rest for the remainder of that day and give some extra tender, loving care. In addition to the obvious benefit of helping to save another animal’s life, there is sometimes a monetary reward for donating your pet’s blood.
There are now several regional animal blood banks that supply blood products to Veterinary hospitals, but the requirements for blood donors vary from state to state. If you’re interested in having your pet become a blood donor, contact your local veterinarian, veterinary school, or emergency animal clinic for more information.