The Blood Donor Program at HVS

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There are many conditions that may necessitate dogs receive (whole) blood transfusions, including those who are hemorrhaging or have a clotting disorder. So that HVS is sure to have 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.

To be a canine donor, dogs must

  • Have a good temperament
  • Weigh at least 50 pounds
  • Be between 1 and 8 years old
  • Be in excellent general health
  • Be available to donate 4 times a year
  • Be up to date on routine vaccinations
  • Be on heartworm and 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) or has serious health condition; was or will be vaccinated within 4 weeks of the donation; has received a transfusion him- or herself; has had recent surgery (within 1 month); 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 is fed a raw diet.

All potential donors have their blood type determined, are given a complete physical exam, and are screened for metabolic and infectious diseases through the following blood tests: CBC/Chemistry, Babesia, Erlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme, and heartworm.

If accepted into the program, the donor dog goes on a list, and when another dog comes in who needs that donor dog’s type of blood, the call goes out and the dog comes in, giving blood for the sick dog’s tranfusion—and getting lots of love and gratitude in return.