The Penn /Pet Aid Team Blood Donor Program
Is your dog eligible to become a blood donor?
Yes, if he/she:
- is a willing volunteer
- is between 1 and 8 yrs old (new donors must be< 7 years old)
- Is between 55 and 150 pounds
- is up to date on vaccines and is in excellent health
- is willing to donate 3-4x/year (locally)
--Has blood that is type DEA 1.1 negative ( a simple blood test is performed on site)
Why should you take part in the Penn/Pet Aid Team program?
To Help Animals in Need
Each unit donated can help save the life of a critically-ill dog. Many dogs need blood to survive during surgery, following trauma, or when they are suffering from anemia or bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand's disease, or rat poison ingestion.
To Keep Your Dog Healthy
- Every year, donors get routine blood screening.
- At each donation, each donor receives one case of canned, or one 20lb bag of dry Science Diet dog food.
- Should the need arise, each donor is eligible to receive free blood units at VHUP equal to the number donated in their lifetime.
To Help Local Shelters/Animals:
- We often end up with donated dog food at the end of each drive...which, in turn, is provided to local shelter groups. More donors = more drives = more food!
- Also, by participating in a voluntary canine blood donor program, you can help ease the demand placed on those animals involuntarily housed in commercial blood bank kennels.
Should Your Dog Donate Today?
YES, if he/she...
- has a good temperament and is a willing volunteer
- is between 55 and 150 pounds.
- is between 1 and 8 yrs old (new donors must be < 7 yrs="" old="" br="">- is up to date on routine vaccinations
- is in excellent general health
- has blood that is type DEA 1.1 negative (Penn will test for this)
- has a normal hemoglobin level (Penn will test for this)
NO, if he/she...
- has been sick recently (e.g. coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea)
- was vaccinated in the last 4 weeks
- has received medications other than flea, tick, or heartworm preventative in the past 2 weeks (certain thyroid meds may be OK)
- has had a blood transfusion
- has had, or will have surgery in the past or next month
- has any serious health condition, e.g. heart murmur
- has donated blood in the past 6 weeks
- is in season, pregnant or will be bred soon
- is in a boarding kennel
...remember to tell the veterinary nurses about any concerns you may have
What happens during a donation?
- Prior to donation, nurses check the dog's health status and a sample of blood is taken from the front leg or the neck to test for anemia (hemoglobin). The rest of the blood is sent to the lab to do yearly testing if it is due.
- The nurses place the donor on the table on his/her right side.
- The owner sits at the dog's head, holding the pet's nose toward the corner of the table and provides soothing words.
- Hair is clipped from a small area on the neck and the skin is cleansed with a mild disinfectant.
- The nurse places the needle in the jugular vein and allows the pump to draw 400-450ml of blood (nearly a pint), which takes about 4-5 minutes.
- The needle is removed and pressure is placed over the site for 1-2 minutes to allow a clot to form.
- A food reward is given to the pet to let him/her know how grateful we are!
What happens to your dog's blood?
Each unit of blood is taken to the blood bank and separated into red blood cells and plasma. In some cases the blood is divided into products that treat platelet disorders and von Willebrand's disease. It is then stored until a transfusion is required by a patient.
What you should do after the donation:
- Tell the bloodmobile nurses if you notice dizziness or nausea immediately following donation
- Restrict strenuous exercise for 24 hrs
- Notify your veterinarian if:
- the donation site is swollen or bleeding
- your dog is lethargic or inappetant for a day or more
What Do The Test Results Mean?
Blood Type: Dogs have many different blood types. One blood type, DEA 1.1, has been shown to cause reactions in the recipient. Therefore, only dogs who are negative for this blood type, "universal donors," are enrolled in the blood program.
Hemoglobin: This tests for anemia to make sure your dog can spare a blood unit.
CBC/Chemistry Screen: These tests check for red and white blood cells, platelets, electrolyte levels and general organ function.
Lyme---Erlichia---Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever---Babesia: These tests look for exposure to tick-borne diseases. Even though your dog may not be ill from these diseases, he/she could be a carrier. If your dog has a positive result, then the blood bank veterinarian will call you to discuss your dog's future as a blood donor. Also, please tell the bloodmobile nurses if your dog has been vaccinated for Lyme disease since the vaccine may lead to an increased antibody level.
Heartworm: This test checks for adult heartworms in the donor.
Notification of abnormal test results:
You will be notified by Penn only if there is an abnormal test result. Please remember that you are responsible for any treatment of abnormalities detected.
Need More Information?
If you have additional questions about the canine blood donor program, or you would like participate in the program, please contact us at email@example.com