Blood transfusions are used in the treatment of conditions such as anaemia, and in many bone marrow diseases such as platelet disorders. Transfusions are also vital for replacing blood loss from severe injury, such as road traffic accidents or during major surgery where blood loss occurs.
Unfortunately, fresh blood from donor cats and dogs is hard to come by as it can be hard to find suitable donors at short notice and it is not possible to have a donor blood bank in practice. We are currently looking for new donors to be added to our donor list.
Is your pet:
- Healthy and fully vaccinated, with no known illness
- Friendly and calm when handled
- Between 1 and 8 years of age
- A cat or dog who has never travelled abroad
- A cat weighing over 4kg, or a dog weighing over 25 kg
Dogs have two main blood groups - DEA 1.1 Positive and Negative and cats have three types - A, B and AB. When we have an animal which requires a blood transfusion, we take a small sample and match this with the donors that are on our list. For cats, the matched donation must be of the same type. Dogs can receive a transfusion of either type of blood the first time it is required but the second transfusion must be a match. To establish what type of blood your pet is, we will take a small sample (1ml).
If we require blood from your pet we will contact you and ask if you are able to bring your pet to Clockhouse Hospital, usually within a few hours. Giving blood takes about 20-30 minutes and you can either wait in reception or come back to pick your pet up at a time convenient to you. The amount of blood taken depends largely on the size of the animal, for cats this is normally around 30ml and for dogs between 300ml and 400ml. A light sedation may be required if your pet becomes stressed or anxious.
Once your pet has donated blood we will give your pet some food before you take it home. They should be rested for the rest of the day. It is unlikely that you will see any adverse effects.
It is safe for your pet to donate blood every 3 months but it is unlikely that your pet will be asked to donate more than once every 6 months.