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It’s a topic I admit I hadn’t given much thought to, but reading about it, it only makes sense that animals need blood during medical emergencies or surgery just as humans do. I’ve often given blood myself and know it’s a simple, painless procedure that’s so very important to do. I’m going to check with my vet about my Westies donating on their next visit to his office.
This article explains the current expansion of dog blood banks.—Sid

Dog Blood Banks are Rising to Meet Demand

Jun 14, 2010 Valerie Modreski

The demand for canine transfusions and blood replacement has become so high that communities are establishing blood banks to reduce potential pet loss.

When a medical condition or emergency occurs with a dog, it may be in imminent need of blood. To meet this demand canine blood banks are opening, nationally, at a promising rate. Pet owners are donating their pet’s blood as they would their own, and recently established banks are reporting excellent numbers.

Canine Blood Bank Exposition

The concept of blood banking for pets has been around for years, but in recent years it has really taken off. Holly Carey, assistant administrator to the animal blood bank, and registered veterinary technician at LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, says the boom can be attributed in part because “there are diseases that we know about now that we may not have known about before.”

The LSU blood bank opened in 1992 and they have since turned into a 24 lour critical care and emergency center. Carey states that dog poisonings are on the rise and once a dog’s blood is tainted in that manner, he may need a complete transfusion. Casey also says “there are a lot of things out there that people didn’t know were toxic, like the Sago Palm”. Poisons have considerably increased their caseload, according to LSU vet techs and staff.

The Popularity of Pet Blood Banks

Before the recent influx of blood banks for dogs, various veterinary offices would have donors on hand. Dog owners would offer their pet’s blood to meet any emergency. Ann Schneider, medical director of the Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank in Severna, Maryland, says “Our blood bank is a little different”, as it is based strictly from a volunteer base. “People bring in their pets to donate blood on a regular basis.” But, she adds, “The need for blood donations grows every year.”

Most veterinary professionals attribute the demand to the fact that animal medicine has grown so much in recent years, and they are able to save dogs that used to have to be put down. When you save a dog’s life, there’s a greater chance that he is going to need blood.

The Future of Blood Banks for Dogs

As of now many of the large banks share their product with vets and animal hospitals in need. The Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank has created a stock supply and Schneider says, “People call us and we ship blood, we also have distribution centers.” These are clinics across the country that keep the EVBB’s blood on hand, ready for delivery in their local area.

The Bank’s staff do a great deal of traveling and admit it is nothing for them to travel hours when they know of a dog willing to donate. Then, the blood products are paid for by clients, or dog owners, and that’s how they are able to continue to offer this much needed service.

Of course, like human blood banks, they are always looking for donors and various incentives are offered at different facilities. These incentives can include free yearly blood work ups, heart worm prevention, various tests done on site and even free food. Sometimes they run drives and offer little giveaways like bandannas and name tags. Then once a dog has been in the volunteer program for a year he automatically becomes eligible to receive free blood for his life’s entirety.

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