Vets can help pet owners start saving lives on World Blood Donor Day (June 14)

hDogs can save up to four lives for every unit of blood donated, so there is no better time to start than World Blood Donor Day on June 14.

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) is joining national charity Pet Blood Bank UK to urge vets to call on pet owners to start a lifesaving commitment today.

More than 1,000 dogs needed a transfusion last year, calling heavily on the resources of Pet Blood Bank, the charity set up to provide a national canine blood bank service for all veterinary practitioners.

Since it was launched in 2007 the charity has also worked to advance veterinary transfusion medicine through knowledge sharing, awareness-raising and educational workshops.

BSAVA President Susan Dawson said: “Hearing such heart-warming stories of pets donating blood is what World Blood Donor Day is all about, not only saving lives but vets helping pet owners through difficult times.

“By focusing attention on pet donation for this year’s World Blood Donor Day we can raise even more awareness of the tremendous work being done. With the help of vet practices across the UK – sharing the donation message, showing support on social media and with posters in practices – our profession can encourage more pet owners to get involved.”

Jenny Walton, Veterinary Supervisor for Pet Blood Bank UK said: “World Blood Donor Day is a great way for us to raise awareness that dogs can be blood donors too. Our aim is to advance animal health and welfare and to relieve suffering by providing quick and convenient access to blood.

She added: “We rely on the veterinary profession and the general public’s support for our not for profit programme that sees owners volunteer their dogs to donate blood to help save others. Currently a lot of people don’t know about canine donation and we need to raise awareness that dogs fitting our criteria can donate.”

Potential donor dogs need to be fit and healthy, between one and eight years old, weigh more than 25kg, have a good temperament, have never travelled abroad, vaccinated and not on any medication.

Canine companions can give blood at one of many sessions across the country. The blood is then taken to a state of the art processing centre in Loughborough, separated into red blood cells and plasma products and then stored ready for despatch.

“This long-term programme sees our happy donors trot into the sessions with tails wagging every three to four months, looking forward to all of the fuss and attention as well as a treat and a toy to take home,” said Jenny Walton.

To find out more about how canine blood donation works, where the nearest donation session is and to register your canine companion as a potential donor go to www.petbloodbankuk.org

Author: Claire Barks

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