A veterinary hospital in Oakville is giving animals the chance to become blood donors.
The canine blood program was created by Dr. Jennifer Kyes and hospital technician Becky Millett of the Mississauga Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital.
“A lot of people don’t know that dogs have blood types and that cats have blood types. Both cats and dogs can donate blood,” says Kyes. “From one donation, up to four blood products can be made.”
Kyes says the procedure is very similar to the collection of blood from humans and owners can stay with their pets throughout the procedure.
“Even the collection bags that we use are human products,” she says. “We take blood from the jugular vein, which is slightly different than in humans. It takes about five minutes, we have a special unit that takes the blood out faster. Rarely do they need sedation”
The program was created due to a significant shortage of blood products and both canine and feline pets can be a part of the program.
Each animal is screened before being a donor and once approved can donate every three months, four times a year.
“The demand is there all year round,” says Kyes. “We have lots of great donors now but we’re always looking for more.”
In order for a dog to be a donor they must be more than 50 pounds, one to eight years old, have a docile temperament, must not have a history of blood transfusions and should be in good health and free of any disease.
If the animal becomes a donor they will receive blood work, blood typing, fecal floatation, heartworm and tick testing.
For more information about the program click here.