The 14th of June is World Blood Donor Day, and to celebrate this important day, Dr Mats Abatzidis shares his insight on the topic.
Sometimes our beloved pets have emergencies and illnesses presenting a critical need for blood products. That means that our treasured fur-babies may need blood or plasma transfusions in order to help them recover from a life-threatening disease.
Various hospitals, clinics, universities and institutions have in-house canine blood donors which are privately- owned pets that have an excellent quality of life. They are relied upon when fresh whole blood-transfusions are required and donate blood every 6-8 weeks, depending on what is needed. It takes a great amount of time and effort sacrificed by all the donor clients to be disease-free and each blood donor has had their blood typed and classified so that it can be matched as quickly as possible to the patients requiring blood transfusions. The blood collected is either stored as whole blood or spun down using a centrifuge which enables the clinic to process blood into various by-products like plasma, whole blood and packed red blood cells, which is then used to meet precise patient requirements and also maximising the utilisation of the donated blood. Whole blood is mainly used for trauma and surgical cases, packed red blood cells are mainly used for diseases where the breakdown of red blood cells such as biliary (babesiosis) which is endemic to South Africa and plasma which is utilised especially for parvovirus diarrhoea puppies, sepsis cases, certain snake bites and sepsis patients.
Speak to your veterinarian and find out if they cater for your beloved pet in this regard. Most practices as supplied various blood products by the Onderstepoort Animal Blood Bank while others have developed their own in-house system and donor programmes.