Updated May 30, 2008
Editor's note : For client convenience, the community-based blood bank is now making Saturday appointments available one day a month. The first available date is Saturday, June 21. Dog owners may set up an appointment at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, (530) 752-1393.
April 22, 2008
The new UC Davis Veterinary Blood Bank is still in need of dogs from the surrounding area to serve as blood donors and encourages pet owners to consider enrolling their dogs.
The blood bank collects, processes and stores canine blood needed for transfusions to treat a variety of conditions in dogs ranging from surgical complications to kidney failure.
Since it opened in February, the blood bank has screened 78 dogs and enrolled 18 of those as donors.
"Because we need dogs with a specific blood type, we plan to screen approximately 1,200 dogs each year in order to establish and maintain the necessary pool of 200 to 400 regular donors," said Dr. Sean Owens, the blood bank's medical director and head of the Transfusion Medicine Service at UC Davis' William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
Although dogs are capable of donating blood monthly, the regular donors will probably come in four to five times per year. All visits to the blood bank for screening and blood donation are free.
"Donating blood for a dog is much like it is for humans," Owens said. "The dogs are comfortable and do not need to be sedated."
In order to be blood bank donors, dogs must be 1 to 8 years old; weigh at least 55 pounds; be current on their flea, tick and heartworm preventive medications; and have never been pregnant or had puppies. To make regular donation practical, the dogs and their owners must live within 100 miles of UC Davis.
The animal's first visit to the blood bank will last for about a half hour. During that appointment, the dogs will be given health checks and have their blood typed. If they have the universal blood-donor type, they will be screened for infectious diseases. If any health problems are detected, the owner will be advised to follow up with the dog's regular veterinarian.
If cleared for further donation, the animal will return in one to two months for a half-hour donation visit.
Results from the screening will be kept on file at the blood bank and can be made available at any time to the dog's regular veterinarian.
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Pet owners interested in having their dog screened for donation may obtain more information or set up an appointment by calling the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at (530) 752-1393 from 8 a.m. to
5 p.m. or by e-mailing email@example.com.
* Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843, firstname.lastname@example.org