Beds, Herts & Bucks

Call for dog owners to donate their pets' blood

Seamus donates blood
Image caption One blood donation can save the lives of up to four dogs

A veterinary practice in Hertfordshire is encouraging dog owners to donate their pets' blood for emergency surgery.

Davies Vet Specialists is holding the blood collection session at its practice in Higham Gobion.

The charity, Pet Blood Bank, collects the blood which is then stored and supplied to veterinary practices across the UK for use in transfusions.

To date, the charity has collected blood from almost 3,000 dogs.

'Life saver'

Vanessa Ashall, veterinary surgeon at Pet Blood Bank, said: "Many people don't know about dog blood donation, but it is vital in helping to save the lives of dogs across the UK.

"One blood donation can save the lives of up to four dogs. So we would encourage dog owners who think that their dog may meet the required criteria to register their dog and come along on Saturday.

"It doesn't hurt the animal, most dogs don't even realise that they are donating blood," said Ms Ashall.

"We use local anaesthetic cream to prevent discomfort, and we find that by making lots of fuss and giving reassurance the dogs are very happy."

Good temperament

Not all dogs are suited to giving blood. A good temperament is essential, as the dog will need to sit quietly for about 10 minutes while the procedure takes place.

The size and weight of the dog is also important.

"You want a fit and healthy dog of a reasonable weight - a little Yorkshire terrier isn't going to donate a lot of blood," Ms Ashall said.

"We like the dogs to weigh more than 25kg (four stone)."

The charity is particularly calling for owners of negative blood type breeds such as greyhounds, boxers, Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, flat coated retrievers, Rottweilers, Wiemaraners and bull mastiffs, to register their dog to give blood.

Hilary and Nick Jones, from Hertfordshire, will be taking two of their dogs, Jethro, a rare working English setter and Amos, a show-bred English setter, to the donation session.

It will be Jethro's fourth time giving blood but a first occasion for Amos.

Ms Jones said: "It's very important to us to support the Pet Blood Bank. Many years ago our setter needed major surgery as a young dog and this also involved a blood transfusion.

"If blood hadn't been available at the time we would never have had the joy of owning him for a further 12 years."

Any owners with potential dog donors can register their dog for the session on Saturday, 26 March 2011 between 1230 GMT and 1830 GMT at Pet Blood Bank UK.

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