A look inside a Canine & Feline Blood Donor Program

Article By: Veterinary Specialty Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador

It has been 7 months since starting the Canine and Feline Blood Donor program here at the Veterinary Specialty Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador (VSCNL). During this time we have seen many pets, who, without the blood donated by a fellow canine or feline compatriot, would not have been able to return home to their loved ones.

A patient may require a blood transfusion for many reasons. Loss of blood caused by trauma such as being hit by car or a bleeding tumor. Immune mediated processes are also common in dogs and one form causes the immune system of an animal to attack and kill its own red cells, leading to blood destruction. Other animals have bone marrow disease or kidney disease which leads to red blood cells either being produced at a lower rate or not at all.

Screening a dog or cat to become a blood donor involves many steps before they can officially become a donor. Besides being an appropriate weight and age, the most important requirement is that they must have a clean bill of health. We help to confirm this by performing a comprehensive blood count (CBC) and a full biochemistry for all animals being considered for entrance into the program. All values included in these tests must be within normal limits for a volunteer to be considered fit to donate blood.

As with any service based program there are costs associated, even if the program is volunteer. All of our donors are pets volunteered to us by their owners because they want their animals to make a difference and help other animals in need. We love to call our blood donors “hero pets” here at the VSCNL because that’s simply what they are, heroes! To help offset the costs associated with running the blood donor program we are fortunate to have supporters who see the good in animal blood donation, and are willing to help out where they can.

One of those companies is scil animal care company. scil is a veterinary diagnostic equipment company, who is dedicated to delivering the highest quality of medical equipment to animal health professionals. scil provides the veterinary industry with a diverse portfolio of chemistry analyzers, hematology analyzers, digital radiography equipment, ultrasound and laboratory software. VSCNL uses scil CBC and chemistry analyzers on a daily basis for all our patients, including our blood donors. scil has committed to assist with some of the cost associated with running the necessary tests involved in the blood donor program, by providing complimentary reagents and tests needed.

We’ve seen so many lives changed, and saved, with the canine and feline blood donor program here at the VSCNL. With continued support from our volunteer donors and companies like scil animal care, we will continue to make the lives of many pets better and healthier.