Like humans, here's how your doggy can donate blood to other dogs
- Dogs require blood transfusions due to things like illnesses such as tick bite fever, autoimmune diseases, and when involved in motor vehicle accidents
- Dogs need to be over 25kg in order to donate half a litre of blood
- Blood donor dogs should not be anxious in nature and need to be fully vaccinated
Did you know your pet could be a blood donor to help other pets in need of blood transfusions?
In fact, Tygerberg Animal Hospital has an Animal Blood Bank at its Bellville branch.
Refilwe Moloto chats to Sister Norma Boshoff from this branch about the importance of pet blood donations and how you can register your pet to be a donor.
Dogs need blood transfusions in the same way that humans do.Sister Norma Boshoff - Animal Blood Bank Bellville
There are illnesses such as tick bite fever that will require a blood transfusion as the animal's blood levels fall too low.
In situations of trauma, where a dog has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, they can lose a lot of blood she explains.
In cases of conditions such as autoimmune disease, blood is often needed.
Autoimmune disease is a fancy way of saying the body is attacking its own red blood cells then they need a transfusion.Sister Norma Boshoff - Tygerberg Animal Hospital Animal Blood Bank
Dogs are able to be blood donors.
The dogs come in every three months just like humans. We take a sample and then we test it and give it t a dog that needs the blood.Sister Norma Boshoff - Tygerberg Animal Hospital Animal Blood Bank
She says demand for donor blood can be seasonal and higher in summer when tick bite fever is rifer.
Overall, she estimates it is probably about 50 dogs or more in a year that require blood transfusions.
How would you know if your dog can help other dogs in this way?
Sister Norma says there are criteria when donating blood.
You can't bring a little Chihuahua for blood donation so it needs to be a healthy big dog at least over 25 kilograms. They cannot be anxious dogs and their vaccines need to be up to date.Sister Norma Boshoff - Tygerberg Animal Hospital Animal Blood Bank
Like humans, dogs can donate blood every three months - four times a year.
And like humans, the same blood bags collect half a litre of blood per donation.
That's why we love our Great Danes, our Dobermans, our Boerboele - any dog that is nice and big that can handle losing half a litre of blood.Sister Norma Boshoff - Tygerberg Animal Hospital Animal Blood Bank
The vets and nurses at TAH ensure there is no pain and keep the dogs relaxed during the process. There is no cost as and they are very grateful for the donation.