DOGGY donors have been helping to save lives by giving blood at a Kirton veterinary surgery.
As with humans, serious operations on dogs with injuries or illnesses often require ample blood supplies in case a transfusion is needed.
Pet Blood Bank UK (PBBuk) was set up four years ago to meet this demand. The Loughborough-based charity visited Elwood and Briggs vets, in Boston Road, on Thursday to hold a session for dog owners to bring their pets along to donate a pint.
“It takes a special dog to be a successful donor,” said Vanessa Ashall, veterinary surgeon for PBBuk. “Each donation we take can save up to four dogs’ lives so it makes a big difference.”
One couple who brought along two dogs on the day was Daphne and John Ledward-Hands, of Surfleet.
“Blood donations are vital – and somebody’s got to do it,” said Daphne.
Other dogs seen on the day included a labrador, rottweiler and doberman. Fen Bank Greyhound sanctuary brought in four dogs.
The donation process involves the dog being examined by a vet and discussing its health with the owner before taking a small blood sample to check for anaemia. If everything is fine, the dog is lifted onto the bed to relax for five minutes before the procedure starts.
“It’s important to make it a positive experience for the dog as we obviously want them to come back next time we visit,” said Vanessa.
“If they they weren’t relaxed or settled at this stage we wouldn’t go ahead.”
The team certainly make a fuss of the donor dogs – with lots of reassuring strokes during the procedure. Afterwards the plucky pooches are given a doggy treat and a special red PBBuk neckerchief saying ‘I’m a lifesaver’ to proudly wear.
“Dogs are also given their own donor card with details about their blood type and a record of their donations.” said Vanessa.
Blood can be used across breeds, but to be a donor they must weigh at least 25kg, be aged one-eight, be healthy, vaccinated, of friendly temprament and not on medication or having been abroad.
The next PBBuk session in Kirton is on May 17.