Could your dog be a blood donor?

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A VETERINARY surgery in Grantham is to launch a dog blood drive in the hope of saving pets’ lives.

The drive is being run by Aidin O’Sullivan at Avenue Veterinary Centre in Avenue Road, Grantham.

Dogs donating blood. Aidin O"Sullivan with "Jack" helped by Bex Steeples. 054C

Dogs donating blood. Aidin O"Sullivan with "Jack" helped by Bex Steeples. 054C

Aidin is setting up the scheme after seeing two Grantham dogs’ lives saved thanks to blood transfusions in the past two months.

She said: “A single blood donation could save the lives of up to five dogs. It’s an incredible thing and giving blood is not a harmful procedure at all.

“You can help other dog owners not have to go through the pain of losing an animal so I think it’s a very worthwhile project. The Pet Blood Bank is currently low on stock but hopefully we can help.”

Aidin is planning to set aside a day in February when owners can take in their dogs to donate blood. The donations will be sent to the Pet Blood Bank charity which stores the blood, ready to dispatch it to a vets when needed.

Staff at Avenue Veterinary Centre have already seen how blood donations can save a life.

Four-year-old male springer spaniel Bramble needed an emergency blood transfusion at Avenue Veterinary Centre after being diagnosed with immune mediated anaemia.

Aidin said: “He came in really lethargic and looking very pale. Before he had been a very healthy dog, regularly going for long walks but it came on all of a sudden. His own body was attacking his red blood cells so that was why he was so tired and had no energy. If we’d left it any longer he would have died. He needed medication but, in the short-term, he needed the blood transfusion to allow the medication to work.”

The transfusion was needed as the spaniel’s packed cell volume (PCV) had fallen from a safe range of 30 to 40 per cent to around eight per cent.

Following the transfusion, Bramble has made a full recovery and is now back to his old self.

Aidin said: “He is doing really well now - back pulling on the lead - and is practically back to normal. The owner is very pleased. They were obviously quite worried. It is quite expensive but, luckily, the dog was insured so they were able to have all of this done.”

The dog blood donor scheme also saved the life of an eight-year-old pug called Millie after she developed a womb infection, dropping her PCV to 13 per cent.

Aidin said: “She wouldn’t have been able to have the surgery she needed without the blood transfusion and without the surgery she would have died.

“Just 24-hours after the surgery the blood had gone up to 42 per cent. She is now fully healthy and recovered and is doing everything a healthy dog should do.”

Dogs have either positive or negative blood, with negative being the most rare. As a result, Aidin is keen to encourage owners of certain dogs which are more likely to have the negative blood type to come forward. Those breeds include weimaraners, bull mastifs, great danes and German shepherds.

Aidin said: “We are very happy for any dog but these breeds in particular as they are more frequently negative.”

Similar schemes for cats are much more rare but Aidin believes that will not always be the case.

She said: “There are cases where cats have had blood transfusions but their blood is not just positive or negative so it is more difficult to find a match.

“I think it is something that will become more common over the next few years.”

Anyone interested in volunteering their dog for the blood drive should contact Aidin at Avenue Veterinary Centre.

Giving blood should take around ten to 15 minutes but the whole process will require around 45 minutes of your time.

Aidin said: “It is a relatively simple and painless procedure and the canine hero gets a lot of fuss afterwards.”

To contact Aidin, call 01476 563371. More information: www.petbloodbankuk.org