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Dog Blood Bank Makes More Blood Types Available

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The canine community blood bank program of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital collects, processes and stores canine blood needed for transfusions to treat a variety of conditions in dogs ranging from surgical complications to kidney failure. The blood bank for dogs opened in February 2008 to invite members of the community to enroll their pets in the program. 

Thanks to in-house blood-typing recently made available, the Transfusion Medicine Service can now identify and accept DEA 1.1 positive and negative blood from donor dogs. 

The blood bank is open Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available the last Saturday of each month, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. During these appointments, blood will be drawn from current canine donors and potential blood-donor dogs will be screened.

The program provides an opportunity to become involved in the veterinary community. “It’s a cool thing to know that you and your dog may save
another dog’s life,” says Dr. Sean Owens, the blood bank's medical director and head of the Transfusion Medicine Service.

In order to be blood 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 had puppies or been pregnant.

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, have their blood typed and they will be screened for infectious diseases. All dogs will leave with a "goody bag" full of treats in appreciation for their service.

If cleared for further donation, the animal can return as often as every one to two months for a half-hour donation visit. If any health problems are detected, the owner will be advised to follow up with the dog's regular veterinarian.

Results from the screening remain on file at the blood bank and can be made available at any time to the dog's regular veterinarian.

Pet owners interested in having their dogs 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. (press option "O" [zero] on the automated message) or by e-mailing caninebloodbank@gmail.com.