Pet Blood Bank UK

Most of us at some point in our lives will have given blood, needed blood or know someone who has. Certainly, everyone has heard of the National Blood Transfusion Service.

Have you ever given any thought however, to what happens when your much loved dog is ill and in need of surgery? Hopefully your dog will never be in need of a life saving blood transfusion but all dogs have the potential to be lifesavers.

Pet Blood Bank is a UK charity that was launched in 2007. Similar to the human blood service equivalent, it provides a canine blood bank service to all vet surgeries across the country.

Just like their humans, dogs have different blood types: DEA 1 Negative and Positive. A dog with Negative DEA 1 is considered to be a universal donor. Dogs with DEA 1 Positive (33-45% of the population) are universal recipients and they can receive blood of any type safely. Blood from a Positive dog should never be transfused into a Negative blood type dog.

In order to give blood, your dog must meet a set of criteria:

  • Fit and healthy
  • Aged between 1-8 years
  • Weigh more than 25kg
  • Have a good temperament
  • Never travelled abroad
  • Vaccinated
  • Not on medication

So, your dog meets all of the required criteria above and you’ve decided that donating blood sounds like a great idea. What next? Visit the Pet Blood Bank website www.petbloodbankuk.org and follow the registration process. With registration done, what actually happens when your dog donates blood and will there be the doggy equivalent of tea and biscuits at the end?

There are venues all over the country and staff work on an appointment system.  Before a paw has even crossed the threshold, Pet Blood Bank will have already contacted you to determined your dogs’ likes and dislikes, thus ensuring that your appointment runs smoothly and is the best possible experience for both you and your dog.

Your appointment will last around 45 minutes and will be split into two parts. First comes the health and suitability check during which your dog will undergo a physical exam and have his or her health history taken. A blood sample is also taken at this point and analysed to make sure that your potential lifesaver can donate. What this also does is give a picture of your dogs’ blood health profile and can help determine changes in medical health over the years.

Next comes the donation. Reassuringly, staff takes the time to make sure that your V.I.D. is happy and settled before going ahead with the procedure. The donation itself takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes during which time only 450ml of blood is taken. Doesn’t sound like much but each unit has the potential to save 4 other lives! What your dog will remember though, are the tummy rubs and attention!  

The donation is done…time for a treat. A drink of water and something to eat allows staff the time to observe your dog, to ensure that all is well. A goody bag, toy and photo opportunity round off the experience. All being well, your dog can return to donate again 2 months later as you can donate up to 6 times a year.

There are already over 9,000 donors registered with the charity. Last year, they sent out over 5,000 units of much needed blood.  

Think saving a life sounds simple?  It really is.  Register now.