Just like humans, dogs can sometimes get in a little over their heads and need a little hemo-help. Dog blood banks are the perfect example of something you never think of until you’re in desperate need of it. Dog blood banks work a lot like human blood banks and can make all the difference in major moments of need. Read on for the hard and fast facts on the remarkable work dog blood banks do when your buddy is dealt an unexpected hand in life.
No dog owner wants to face a situation in which Sparky needs a blood transfusion, but alas, illnesses like Parvovirus (which can sometimes necessitate a blood transfusion) can strike when you least expect them. Whether your buddy inadvertently gets in a rough-and-tumble brawl with another dog, gets an infection, or suffers from anemia, canine blood banks are crucial and often life-saving.
Canine blood banks aren’t nearly as common as human blood banks, but non profits like HemoPet are making it easier for our buddies to bounce back from boo boos. So how do they work?
Donating blood is typically a 45 minute process that involves hugs, treats and yes, a needle. Asides from a small patch of shaved fur, there’s virtually no sign of the transaction—it’s a small gesture that can potentially save a life.
“Just like people, when pets need surgery, they often need transfusions of blood or they might die.” — The Human Society
The Humane Society cites that dog blood has a shelf life of 30-35 days, making the need for consistent donors all the more important. There are five major types of canine blood, according to PetFinder, with Type O candidates being the universal donor.
NPR featured a story on the life-saving work of Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank in Purceville, Virginia in 2013 which you can listen to here. To see if your dog qualifies to donate blood, your vet will first need to determine that your dog is free of any diseases that can be passed on. PetFinder notes that your dog must also be off medication (save for flea and heartworm meds) and have a universal blood type. The only way to figure this out is to schedule a visit to your vet. Depending on where you go and what state you’re in, restrictions may include weight and age.
Should your dog be a perfect match, the number one way you can help is by making a visit to the clinic every 5-7 weeks to replenish the bank’s supply. Not only will you feel great about doing your part to make dogs’ lives everywhere better, but these clinics will often offer incentives like coupons for future services. It just may be a win-win—for you, your dog, and potential recipients.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Top image via Flickr CC/Aidras