(Photo: Canadian Animal Blood Bank)

A veterinary hospital in Langford is hosting its first ever dog blood donor clinic for canines that care.

WAVES veterinary hospital in Langford first opened its doors in April 2019 and since then, vets working there have performed between two to seven blood transfusions on dogs each month.

This Saturday, January 25th, the hospital will be hosting its first dog blood donor clinic in conjunction with the Canadian Animal Blood Bank, which provides canine blood products to vets across the country.

“Blood transfusions can be life saving for patients with serious illnesses like low red blood cell levels (anemia) or problems with blood clotting,” says Dr. Erin Simmonds, who has been a veterinarian for 12 years and a specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care for eight years.

“Common situations requiring transfusions at WAVES include animals with immune mediated anemia, trauma from being hit by a car, during major surgery, or after ingestion of toxins like rat poison.”

Qualifying as a doggie donor

The main blood groups in dogs are called Dog Erythrocyte Antigens (DEA), of which the most important for blood transfusions is DEA 1.1.

All potential dog donors are tested to determine if they are DEA 1.1 positive or negative. While some breeds like golden retrievers are more likely to be positive, a blood type test is always necessary in order to establish certainty.

According to Dr. Simmonds, there are certain criteria that a dog must meet in order to be an eligible blood donor.

“A typical ‘unit’ of blood requires a donation of about 400-500 mLs from our doggie blood donors. This is only safe for healthy, large breed dogs,” she says.

“The donor dogs have to have a calm demeanour and be comfortable lying on their side for up to 5 minutes.”

The dogs also need to be between one to eight years old, and up to date on their vaccinations.

Left to right: Dr. Suzanne Smith (emergency/rehab vet), Michelle Savery (RVT, registered veterinary technician), and Dr. Erin Simmonds (critical care specialist) at WAVES, along with Rhubi the golden retriever who is a blood donor at WAVES.

Heroes needed

Besides blood products from the Canadian Animal Blood Bank, WAVES also has a list of “on call” dogs in the community who provide blood donations on an emergency basis.

This Saturday’s event will be the first of its kind hosted by the hospital, and the organizers hope to have another similar clinic later this year.

Those who wish to sign their dog up for the clinic should email cabb.edmonton@canadiananimalbloodbank.ca. If you cannot make it to this clinic but are interested in future events, send an email to info@wavesvet.com.

“You may never know who received a blood transfusion from your pet, but to that family you are a hero,” adds Dr. Simmonds.

K9 Blood Donor Clinic

  • When: Saturday, January 25th, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Where: WAVES Westcoast Animal Veterinary Emergency Specialty Hospital, 947 Langford Pkwy

 

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