Blood bank

Valley Farm Animal Hospital canine blood bank is able to supply the needs of our own hospital and we are even able to supply blood to a few other veterinary practices in the area. We are always looking for new donor dogs to join our team of life savers.

 

Animals can donate blood, without any harm to themselves, just as people do. Like humans, animals have different blood groups and test kits are available so that we can test your dog and select the safest donor blood type, which is DEA1.1 negative.

 

Currently we use client-owned dogs as blood donors, and do not use cats. Cats need to be restricted indoors to prevent accidental transmission of the viral diseases FIV and FeLV.

 

To get your dog blood typed to become a donor, please call Sr. Ijana Maclean 012 991 3573 or email bloodbank@valleyfarmvet.co.za.

 

To be suitable as a blood donor your dog must fulfil the following criteria:

 

The dog must:

  • Weigh more than 25kg
  • Be between 1 and 6 years old, fully vaccinated and dewormed (receiving boosters yearly)
  • Be healthy
  • Have a calm temperament
  • Not have had a transfusion previously

 

All dogs accepted as donors will receive free annual vaccinations and a blood profile to test basic organ health. In addition a voucher for use at Valley Farm to the value of R150 will be given per donation as a thank you for your time and effort.

 

Blood transfusions are required for patients that:

 

  • Are anaemic due to trauma or surgery
  • Are anaemic due to disease such as biliary or other haemolytic anaemias
  • Have a clotting problem due to rat poison toxicity (warfarin) or liver failure
  • Have a critical blood protein loss which needs plasma to increase levels, e.g. puppies with parvovirus diarrhoea (katgriep)

 

Donation is preferably performed without sedation. To achieve this we desensitise your pet by slowly introducing all the aspects of donation over several visits. Specific aspects he must get used to are lying on his side, not becoming stressed at the sound and feel of the clippers, and not being upset by the needle and vacuum collection unit.

Donors can donate 450 ml of blood (1 unit) for every 25kg of weight. It is safe to take 2 units from dogs over 45 kg. Dogs do not show the light headedness experienced by people after donation, as they have a different blood pressure system. Dogs can safely donate blood every 4 – 6 weeks. Depending on the type of bag that is used for collection, the blood products can be processed into whole blood, packed red blood cells and plasma. The processing of blood allows better utilisation of this very valuable resource. Whole blood can be stored for 4 weeks in a fridge, packed red blood cells for 6 weeks and plasma is frozen within 8 hrs of collection and is stored at -20°C for 12 months.

 

On the day of donation:

 

  • A small sample of blood will be taken to check the amount of red blood cells and look at the cells to see if they are normal in appearance and number. There will also be a check for parasites, such as babesia.
  • A basic clinical examination will be performed to ensure that the animal is in good health.
  • The donor will be weighed to monitor the amount of weight picked up or lost and the number of units the animal can donate.
  • A small patch will be shaved on the neck area, as the preferred site of collection is the jugular vein. The area must be a surgically cleaned as blood collected must be sterile in order to prevent bacterial growth inside the bag when it is stored
  • The owner is encouraged to assist with handling during collection but this is not imperative