If you have a big dog under seven years of age who loves their vet, you could help save another dog’s life.
- Many vet clinics do not have access to blood bags, making donor lists crucial in emergencies
- A blood transfusion can mean the difference between life and death for sick and injured pooches
Preferred donors are over 30kgs, under seven years old, who are fully vaccinated and love going to the vet
Without canine blood banks, vets like Michael Joubert rely on a list of big local donor dogs for when blood is needed in emergency, trauma and disease cases.
“It is a life and death situation where animals will need blood to survive,” he said.
Dr Joubert said the blood is not stored, but collected fresh when needed, making a well-populated list vital for emergencies.
“If we don’t get blood into these dogs, within an hour or two they will die,” he said.
“An emergency case comes in, they need blood, we’d then phone up the first available donor.
“That animal comes in immediately, we collect that blood and it would be transfused immediately.”
Dr Joubert said if you sign your dog up as a donor, you are literally saving other dogs’ lives.
“I had a case a few weeks back where the dog came in on deaths door, our donor came in and within two hours the dog was looking perfect and it went home in a couple of days time,” he said.
Not all dogs are created equal
Donor dogs need to be big enough to not notice the 460 millilitres of blood taken, but also calm enough to handle the procedure.
“We like larger dogs, preferably over 30 kilograms, need to be under seven years old, in good health and of course have to be up to date on their vaccinations.”
“It’s just safer to do larger animals — we would never do under 20kg — it’s too much to take from them.
“Dogs over 30 kilos don’t even notice it — after the donation they walk out like nothing has happened.”
More than just appreciation
Of course donor dogs are showered with love from the vets and vet nurses, but there is more than that.
Dr Joubert said on top of treats and attention the dogs get their bloods checked out, and a full check up from the vet.
“They get a free health check, blood screen, free tick and flea treatment, so it is beneficial to them as well,” he said.
“We always give them a mild sedative as well to make it as stress-free as possible, we don’t want fluffies stressing at all.
“They get to wake up nice and calmly then with lots of cuddles and treats, it’s quite a quick and easy process.”