The school's veterinary blood bank, a community-based canine donor program, for the first time retired one of its donors when Breesis, a German shepherd from Orangevale, made her final blood donation December 23 amid a flurry of media attention and doggy snacks.
"The blood bank requires that all donor dogs be between one and eight years old," says Sean Owens, medical director. The age limit is intended to protect the health of the dog, says Owens, who also heads the Transfusion Medicine Service at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. "Because Breesis turns eight in January, this was her last blood donation." Breesis and her owner received a gift and certificate of appreciation. As a blood donor, Breesis is also eligible to receive blood products in future if needed.
Owner and UC Davis employee Ellen Yoshimura signed Breesis up to donate blood when the program opened in February 2008. Breesis has since made seven donations of blood, which went to help 12 different patients. During each visit to the blood bank, donor dogs can contribute 450 ml, about one pint, of blood, which can benefit up to five animals. Breesis tolerated the procedure as calmly as the cameras of several visiting members of the media, and she enjoyed a number of treats offered by staff members who know her well.
The community blood donation program has screened 150 dogs to date, enrolling 67 of those as donors. The blood bank intends to increase the size of its donor group to 300 dogs.
Dog owners in the Davis-Sacramento area are encouraged to consider enrolling their dogs as blood donors. Participants receive regular health screenings, various treats, and free blood if they ever need it.
Each dog must meet the age requirements; weigh at least 55 pounds; be current on flea, tick and heartworm preventive medications; and have never had puppies or been pregnant.
More information and screening appointments:
(530) 752-1393 (press "0"), or firstname.lastname@example.org