Canine Blood Donation

Jax Watts photo

We are very excited to be working with the North American Veterinary Blood Bank (NAVBB), to create awareness and foster canine blood donations in the Richmond area.

Holiday Barn Pet Resorts was contacted by NAVBB in April. They are expanding their operation to the Richmond area due to demand. They have been receiving more and more requests for blood from the greater Richmond area and see it as an opportunity to help and invite our community to participate. NAVBB met with our Marketing team in May, and after that discussion, we realized the urgent need to get the ball rolling quickly.

Although the need for blood has always existed, in the past veterinarians were tasked with finding donors on a case by case basis, often using their own dogs, or finding friends who were willing to have their dog donate when necessary. There are many circumstances when a dog might need blood:

● Bleeding from accidents or trauma

● Various surgeries

● Chronic conditions such as cancer

● Poisoning

● Cancer, liver or kidney failure

● Anemia

Donating blood to a canine blood bank is just like it is for people. Dogs are screened by a Veterinarian for a variety of health issues prior to donating, some blood is taken for testing, and finally, “treats” and refreshments abound!  The process is quick and comfortable!

Does your dog qualify as a blood donor dog?

The NAVBB is looking for healthy adult dogs, who are willing to lay still for approximately 5-10 minutes and meet the requirements listed below.  If your dog meets these basic blood donation requirements, a pre-evaluation is scheduled.

  • Age,  1 – 7 Years
  • Weight, over 50 pounds
  • Up to date on all vaccinations
  • Medication free (with exception to general heartworm and flea preventative)
  • Friendly with strangers
  • Never had a blood transfusion before

The pre-evaluation is a free, in-depth health screening consisting of a complete blood panel, blood chemistry profile, health history, and physical examination. Your dogs’ blood will be tested for various pathogens and infectious agents, including things like Lyme disease and leptospirosis, and other blood-borne illnesses. Your dog’s blood will be typed and will fall into one of 13 dog blood type groups, with the major types being “positive”, “negative” and “universal”.

What to expect

Once the dog is calm and settled, a mild anesthetic is applied to where the needle will be is used and the dog blood transfusion will begin. Blood is then drawn from the neck, around the jugular vein which is quick and easy. Most dogs do not even flinch when the needle is inserted. The average donation of approximately 1 pint is taken over 5-10 minutes.

After the procedure

Afterward, the dogs are giving treats and more treats, hugs and kisses, and rewards to give them a positive experience.

Just as in humans, sometimes a dog might experience slight swelling or bruising at the site where blood was collected. This is normal and will go away within a couple of days. Most dogs leave the donation site with full vim and vigor, but rest for a day is encouraged.

Let’s do this!

The North American Veterinary Blood Bank will be holding pre-evaluations, or screenings, this Friday, June 27th at Stonehenge Veterinary Hospital at 906 Southlake Boulevard in Richmond. Pre-registration can be found here. Once blood results are received, you will be contacted and your dog’s first donation will be scheduled. Dogs are eligible to donate every 4-6 weeks.

Just think:  One dog donating just 4 times a year can save up to 12 lives!  Isn’t that wonderful?

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