Pet blood donation tips to help animals in need

U.S. & World

(NBC) – January is National Blood Donor Month. Not just for us, but for our four-legged friends, too.

Curry and Luna have saved many lives through Blue Pearl Pet Hospital’s blood bank.

Criticalist Dr. Lesleigh Redavid says dogs and cats need blood donations for the same reasons we do.

“Sometimes infections in the blood stream, unfortunately trauma, so God forbid a pet gets hit by a car and is bleeding internally and needs blood to stabilize for surgery..” she says.

Critical Care Technician Ashley Winkelspecht says pets, too, are pre-screened before they can donate.

“Make sure they’re up to date on vaccines, have good prevention, we do require heartworm flea and tick, they do have to be indoor only if it’s a cat,” she said.

Cats have to be over ten pounds and dogs need to be over 50.

“Between the ages of 1 and 8, they’ve never had blood transfusions before, no type of infections things but we test them for all of that,” Winkelspecht said.

The bigger and healthier the dog, the more lives they can save.

They do a mock donation first and take a little blood from the neck to make sure each pet is comfortable.

“No cat is going to lay still for a donation, so they do get sedation to help calm them down. Most of our dogs are really good temperaments, they come, they wag their tails,” Dr. Redavid said.

And Winkelspecht says it’s not for every pet or every parent, and that’s okay.

“Our biggest thing is we don’t want it to be traumatic. They’re doing an elective thing to help other pets, so we want to make sure they’re also having fun, they’re getting treats they’re getting toys and they’re happy about it.”

If your dog or cat meets donor requirements and you’d like to set up a screening, you can contact your local veterinary clinic to find a pet blood bank.

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