World Blood Donor Day: 4-Legged Fur Heroes to the Rescue

Faster than a speeding bullet, a dog to a bone, or a cat to dinner… Forget capes, some noble heroes come with a 4-legged fur cloak weaving a spell of irresistible cuteness. Bonus face licks to the rescue! World Blood Donor Day, this Sunday June 14th, brings to light our universal need for safe blood. Whether human or animal, the availability of blood donations can often mean the vital difference between life and death. This becomes crucial to saving a pet’s life when threatened by illness and disease, trauma and surgery; or anaemia caused by snake bites or toxicity.

They say cats have nine lives but sadly sometimes, even they need an extra helping paw. Thanks to donations from many generous fur donors, in critical emergencies sick or injured pets can get the help they need on the spot drastically increasing chance of survival. However, due to the relatively short use-by-date, regular contributions are needed to keep supplies topped up.

Fun facts:

  • One in three dogs and one in five cats are able to donate blood
  • Dogs have 15 known blood types while cats have three
  • A 25kg dog can provide nearly the same amount of blood as a human donation!
  • For safety reasons, donations are kept 3-6 months apart
  • Blood donations will take around 30-60 minutes all up and do not usually require sedation
  • Canine blood can be stored for four weeks
  • Feline blood can be stored for 35 days and plasma for up to three years

Dogs are generally unphased and unaware of what is happening as the vet will apply a local anesthetic cream first while relaxing them with soothing background music and lots of pats. Depending on the cat, they may need to be sedated but overall it should be a stress-free process for all. The treats that follow are without a doubt what they will remember most!

Criteria to become a donor:

  • Both canines and felines can give blood after passing all physical and ethical requirements
  • Superhero strength: dogs need to weigh at least 25 kgs and cats need to be 4 kgs
  • 1-5 years of age
  • Have a happy, calm temperament. As they will need to be able to lie on their side for 15 minutes, energetic pets can often be too difficult to calm down
  • Healthy and up to date with vaccinations, worming and heartworm prevention
  • Have not required a blood transfusion previously

Have a calm cat or a cool canine keen to join the furry masters of the universe? Talk to your local vet or Animal Emergency Service to find out where your nearest blood donation centre is located.

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Dr Alex Hynes

Dr Alex Hynes

Veterinarian, Author and Educator with an extraordinary passion for animals, life and veterinary work both as the hospital director of one of Australia’s busiest emergency pet hospitals, Animal Emergency Service in Australia, and as an entrepreneur and media personality.

Dr Alex Hynes

Dr Alex Hynes

Veterinarian, Author and Educator with an extraordinary passion for animals, life and veterinary work both as the hospital director of one of Australia’s busiest emergency pet hospitals, Animal Emergency Service in Australia, and as an entrepreneur and media personality.

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