A different sort of canine hero

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blood donor1Heroes grace the world in many forms.  Canine heroes are known to save lives by chasing down criminals, waking up their families when fire strikes, and jumping into rivers to bring their people to safety.  But there is another, lesser known way for your dog to be a hero, and that is by being a blood donor.

Dogs, just like people, need life saving procedures from time to time.  Sometimes that involves a blood transfusion, and that requires a blood bank.  It is often not until our beloved pet is in need that it occurs to us that blood donors are a crucial part of the life saving process.  The Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank is one place where a dedicated team collects blood that is stored and shipped across the country to dogs in their time of need.

The need for donors is great, and the reward of knowing that your dog saved another canine life is priceless.  BRVBB gets up to 20 requests a day from veterinarians from coast to coast.  Not every dog can be a donor however; to qualify a dog must weigh at least 35 pounds, and undergo a careful screening process. Since the screening is costly, repeat donors are necessary to maintain the program.  In addition to minimum weight, in order to qualify a dog must have up to date rabies and distemper vaccines, be on heartworm preventative year-round and not on any long-term medications — although certain supplements may not be a problem.

The process itself is relatively simple, there is no sedative involved, and you can be with your dog the whole time.  Your pet will lie on his side while a needle is inserted into the large vein in his neck.  The whole procedure takes about 5 minutes, during which a team member snuggles with your pooch and you feed him treats.  The blood drawn is separated into different components as needed and then sent off to save precious lives.

BRVBB is just one of many veterinary blood banks, and a quick google search may reveal one in your area.  Let your dog be a hero by donating blood and saving someone else’s beloved pet.