Hope Veterinary Specialists will be opening a canine blood bank in the fall of 2019 and will be seeking donations from our community to assist our patients in need. More details are coming soon, but in the meantime, read more about the qualifications for becoming a donor.
There are many conditions that may require dogs to receive (whole) blood transfusions, including those who are hemorrhaging or have a clotting disorder. To ensure that Hope has donors on hand when blood is needed (the shelf life of whole blood is just 4 hours!), we have our own in-house blood donor program. Our plan for 2019 is to purchase a centrifuge where we can process donations from pets onsite, thereby allowing us to get the maximum benefit out of each donation. By separating the components of blood, we can collect and store both packed red blood cells and fresh plasma. The plasma is frozen for storage which extends its shelf life to 1 year and the red blood cells can be stored for 35 days under refrigeration.
To be a canine donor, dogs must:
- Have a good temperament
- Weigh at least 50 pounds
- Be between 2 and 8 years old
- Be in excellent general health
- Be available to donate 4 times a year
- Be up to date on routine vaccinations (Rabies and distemper)
- Be on heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives
A dog will not be allowed to donate blood if he or she:
- Has been recently sick (coughing, sneezing, vomiting, having diarrhea)
- Has a serious health condition
- Was or will be vaccinated within 4 weeks of the donation
- Has or will have surgery within 4 weeks of the donation
- Has received a blood transfusion
- Has a heart murmur or has ever had a seizure
- Has donated a unit of blood in the previous 6 weeks
- Is in season, pregnant, or going to be bred
- Is on medication (other than preventatives) or has received medications in the past two weeks
- Is fed a raw diet
All potential donors will receive yearly blood work which will be covered in your pet’s first donation per year. This blood work includes determining blood type and screening for diseases (CBC/Chemistry, Babesia, Erlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme, and heartworm). We are asking for a commitment of 2 years into the donor program.
If accepted into the program, we will conduct routine donation days and have you bring your pet in for his or her donation. There may be circumstances when we have an immediate need for whole blood for one of our patients, in which case, we may contact you outside of the scheduled donation day, but only if your pet is eligible. Your dog will not only be giving blood for the sick dog’s transfusion, but also getting lots of love and gratitude in return. Contact us if you are interested in being a doggie donor!