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Everyone knows how important it is for people to give blood and how it helps save peoples' lives when they need blood transfusions. But did you know that dogs too can give blood and that one donor dog may be able to save 4 other dogs' lives? People who've given blood know just what a painless procedure it is and as long as person is healthy, over the age of 16 and weighs more than 110 lbs, they can become part of a very valuable service. For dogs it's exactly the same, and with the reassurance of their owners, it can be a stress-free procedure that's very worthwhile.
When dogs give blood it is then stored in a canine blood bank so that vets all over the country know they can get hold of processed packed red blood cells as well as fresh plasma when they need it the most to save other dogs lives.
Not every dog makes a suitable blood donor and there are certain criteria and guidelines set in place so owners know whether their pets would be able to do their bit for their canine friends. The guidelines are as follows:
Dogs need to be between the age of 1 and 8 years old
They need to weigh over 25 kg
Dogs need to have a nice temperament
Dogs must never have travelled abroad
Must have all the vaccinations which are up to date
Dogs must be fit and healthy
Dogs must not be taking any sort of medication
If your dog meets all the above guidelines, they would be able to donate blood. However, as their owner, you may be a little worried about letting them do so for the first time, which is absolutely natural because your dog is your beloved best friend and you would hate anything to happen to them.
There are many dogs all over the country registered as canine blood donors, with bigger dogs being the more suitable candidates. Once a dog is registered, they could be called upon to donate their blood when the need arises. Occasionally, a vet might ask an owner to bring their dog to their practice in order to donate much needed blood for another canine patient under their care.
The first time a dog donates blood at a veterinary practice, they will carry out a few tests to begin with which usually means shaving a small area on your dogs' front leg so they can take some blood to cross match it with the dog that needs a transfusion. The vet will also carry out a blood count to make sure it is safe for your dog to give their blood without causing them any harm.
If all the tests come back positive, the next step is to shave a small area of fur on your dogs' neck, which reveals their jugular. This allows the vet to give your dog a local anaesthetic. Next the vet will put a canula in your dogs' vein so they can start to collect your dogs' blood. Some dogs remain quiet during the process, sitting still although they may be a little anxious about the situation which is why owners need to stay with their pets so they can reassure them and keep them happy and quiet.
If you are the proud owner of a largish dog that's in prime health, you may like to consider allowing them to donate blood. It could save another dogs' life which is something very worthwhile. Naturally, your dog would need to boast a lovely temperament and they need to be very patient because they will need to sit still during the procedure.
The best people to talk to about your dog becoming a canine blood donor is your local veterinary practice or you could contact the Pet Blood Bank UK directly to discuss whether your dog would be an acceptable candidate.
There are many dog owners who have registered their pets as canine blood donors which is great for the dogs that are in desperate need of transfusions whether they've been injured or have undergone any sort of life saving surgery. If your dog meets all the criteria set out above, and you feel happy about them donating blood, you should discuss this with your local vet and then take it from there – for every one canine blood donor, you could be helping four other needy dogs.
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