Like humans, dogs can give blood too. To celebrate Blood Donor Week, we visited Pet Blood Bank UK to meet the doggy donors who make life saving treatments possible for other dogs.
How does blood donation work for dogs? The appointment is split into two parts:
Health and suitability check with a fully qualified vet
The vet will go through the following process with the dog prior to any donation going ahead:
Dogs must be aged between 1 and 9 years old
Firstly the dogs are weighed. Pooches must weigh at least 25kgs to be eligible to donate
Dogs must be microchipped. This is to confirm the dogs’ identification before donating
Undertake a physical examination of the dog and take its health history
Carefully clip and clean a small area of the dog's neck and leg so a small sample of blood can be taken for testing
If all is well, the dog will go through to the donation room where a fully qualified phlebotomist will draw about 450ml of the dogs blood. Once the donation is made the dog will be brought to the refreshments area for a well earned drink, snack and rest.
We met up with a few of the dogs and owners who came along to give blood ahead of #BloodDonorWeek 2017
Star of our film, Bridie (named after the famous Forfar Bridies) is an ex guide dog turned blood donor. Bridie was bred to be a guide dog but when it was discovered that she had mild elbow dysplasia, she was asked to retire early. She now puts her spare time to great use and gives blood every 12 weeks.
Doggy donor Kyrie was accompanied by her puppy pal Laddie. Kyrie is also an ex guide dog who has now been donating for four years and was giving her 12th donation. Kyrie was previously identified as a match for a doggy patient living down south called Watson. As it would happen, fate played a part as Kyries brother is also called Watson.
Donor owner Mhairi who was featured in our film with dog Dream, brought along a total of three dogs to give blood. Black Labradors Dream, Darcy and Pickle are all related. Darcy was giving her 10th donation and will reach retirement age in December, Pickle and Dream have both given 4 donations each.
It was a family affair for yellow labs Charlie, Liesl and Amber! Alyson brought her three show dogs for their fourth, third and second donations respectively.
Great Dane Charlie was by far the biggest doggy blood donor we have ever encountered! Weighing in at 67 kilos, it takes 3 members of staff to get Charlie onto the donation table. This was his ninth donation and he has been giving blood for nearly 4 years.
German Shepherd Nugget was here for his second attempt at giving blood. Owner Jess said "He was too much of a mummy's boy last time but is giving it another go today". Guide dog in training Inca accompanied Nugget for some moral support.
Jasper the Black Labrador has been donating for two years and this was his fifth donation. His favourite part of the donating experience is splashing around in the water bowl with his owner two year old Nathan.
A huge thank you to all the staff at Pet Blood Bank UK who made our visit amazing. Special thanks to Aoife, Susan, Rawnie, Lorna, Becky and Lora for making our visit possible. Happy #BloodDonorWeek