Health Watch

Dogs Donating Blood

Sunday, September 25, 2011

We've all heard about the need for donating blood, but how about blood donations for man's best friend? Advances in veterinary medicine are fueling that need, as advanced procedures for human medicine can now be used on our pets.

Oscar de la Blue is sniffing out life again after battling a dangerous dog virus that could have snuffed out his.

"There were a couple of days where he was just kind of a shell of a puppy," Jay Kapp, Oscar's owner, told Ivanhoe.

But thanks to rescue Greyhound Sparkle and others like her, Oscar was given life-saving plasma and another chance to be a puppy. You see Sparkle is a canine blood donor.

"For every unit of blood that she gives, she will help at least two other dogs," Mary Beth Bartel, Sparkle's owner, told Ivanhoe.

Sparkle donates once a month, and at 30 units so far, she has saved 60 lives. She's also on a 24-hour emergency call list.

"The blood has gone directly from here right into a dog in surgery. It's really rewarding," Mary Beth said.

"Animals that are bleeding or have problems being able to clot their blood, you know, they really need those blood products, and they are life-saving for those animals," Dr. Lee Herold, DVM, DACVECC, Chief Medical Officer at DoveLewis, told Ivanhoe.

Dogs have seven blood types. About 40-percent are universal donors -- making them ideal candidates. Dogs also should be at least 1 year old, weigh 55 pounds and have a pleasant personality.

"We want a dog that's gregarious and wants to come in and get its blood drawn," Dr. Herold said.

Canine blood donations take about 10 minutes with little to no recovery time. Cats can also donate to other cats, but unlike dogs, they must be sedated and usually live at the hospital in a donor habitat.

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