Canine & Feline Blood Donation
Pet blood donation programs seek healthy dog and cat donors
As a result of veterinary advancements in emergency and critical care, internal medicine, oncology and orthopedic surgery, the demand for companion animal blood transfusions is on the rise. That’s why animal blood banks and blood donor programs continue to seek healthy donor dogs and cats to make blood products more available to veterinarians nationwide.
Donor blood is collected, stored and separated into variety of blood products, including:
- Packed red blood cells are used for patients with acute or chronic hemorrhage, hemolysis, renal disease and bone marrow disorders.
- Fresh-frozen plasma contains all clotting factors and albumin, and is used to treat bleeding due to anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity, liver failure, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) or congenital clotting deficiencies.
- Frozen plasma, while containing minimal amounts of clotting factors V and VII, can be used to treat rodenticide toxicity, hypoproteinemia, pancreatitis, antithrombin deficiency or hemophilia B.
- Cryoprecipitate, which contains factor VIII and von Willebrand’s factor, is used to treat hemophilia A, von Willebrand’s disease and as a topical hemostatic in surgery.
- Cryoprecipitate-poor (Cryopoor) plasma, which contains all coagulation factors except von Willebrand’s and factor VIII, is used for the treatment of rodenticide toxicity as well as the replacement of proteins (albumin and immunoglobulins).
Requirements for donation
Regional and national animal blood banks exist in various states. Some veterinary clinics, schools and teaching hospitals welcome donation volunteers. Potential donors must be healthy, between ages 1 and 6, and up-to-date on all required vaccinations and free of medications other than flea, tick and heartworm preventives. Previous transfusion recipients or animals with cardiac conditions are not eligible donors, and some donor programs exclude females with pregnancy histories. Dogs should weigh 55 pounds or more, while cats should weigh a minimum of 10 pounds.
The donation process varies between dogs and cats. In dogs, it takes about 15 to 30 minutes, done while the dog is awake. Donor cats are sedated for the process. Donation centers and banks like The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center typically collect blood five or six times per year per animal.
Companion animal blood groups
Once an animal has been determined to be an eligible donor, their blood is typed and classified. Dogs fall into two categories: universal and positive. Any dog can receive universal blood, while only positive dogs can receive positive blood.
Cats can be type A, B or AB. While A is the most common, only Type A cats can receive it. Type B is more common among purebred cats and only can be given to Type B cats. AB is the most rare type, and only used for other AB cats.
You can make an impact by recommending healthy patients to become blood donors.
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