Several weeks ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook that one of her dogs (she has FOUR rescues: 2 Pit Bull Mixes and 2 Rat Terrier Mixes) was going to go in to be tested to become a Dog Blood Donor.
I was immediately interested and watched each week to see how the testing was going. Maizey, the potential donor, passed with flying colors! Just this week she donated her first round of blood!
Years ago, when I was in college, I remember going to the veterinary clinic on campus and walking the Greyhound blood donors now & then, but it never occurred to me that regular pets could be blood donors. Turns out dog blood donors are out there all over
Here is a list of what a good potential dog blood donor needs:
Be over 50 lbs
Be between 1-7 years old (varies)
Be calm, cool, and collected!
Be a universal blood donor type (Pit Bulls and Greyhounds are most likely to have this blood type)
Not be on any medications (except Heartworm and Thyroid)
Be otherwise healthy
Some facilities ask for a commitment to donate every 2 months for 2 years (6 times a year). Other facilities have different schedules, and some have “emergency” on-call dogs.
My friend’s dog was a perfect candidate. Maizey is a typical laid back Pit Bull and is happy to just lie around and wag her tail. She doesn’t care who pokes her or where she just is happy to be there! Maizey went through several rounds of testing: first to see if she was a universal blood donor type (she was!), then a comprehensive physical and tick panel (perfect health!), and last a Complete Blood Cell Count, Chemistry Profile, Heartworm Test, Fecal Analysis, & Urinalysis (perfect again!).
After she donates blood, she gets an extra special treat (soft dog food), and a brightly colored bandana to wear while the fur grows back in around her donation site.
If you think this is something your dog might be able to do, call your local veterinarian and they might be able to point you in the right direction. The NC State University website (which is where Maizey is donating at) has a great picture gallery of how a blood donation occurs here.