Dog-lovers and cat-lovers, hear us! Your favourite companions need donors. Veterinarians and the national animal blood bank (yes, the Netherlands has one of those) are sounding an urgent alarm for more dogs and cats to donate blood. So not only humans but animals need to start donating blood too!
There is an increasing number of pets who need transfusions as more people are becoming aware about the benefits of blood transfusions. “On average, we perform one and sometimes two transfusions a week. A few years ago, blood transfusions were another big exception: at most once or twice a year. We then used the blood of dogs or cats from our own staff,” says vet Marc Maas from the Evidensia Hospital in Waalwijk.
How does a doggo and catto blood transfusion happen?
According to RTL Nieuws, blood transfusions help save a lot of lives. If an animal has lost a serious amount of blood, then a blood transfusion will save their life. To qualify for a blood donation, dogs have to be at least 22 kg, while a cat must be 4 kg. They have to be at least a year old.
If you have a pet, know that it’ll take only five to seven minutes, so it won’t be so bad for them. Blood is taken by laying a dog on its side. A little bit of blood is taken from the front leg or from the neck vein. A half a litre is taken. Cats rarely ever let that much be taken from them, and therefore is lesser.
Not enough animal blood donors in the Netherlands
The problem with animal blood donation is that not enough people know about its benefits and the need for it. Right now, they raise awareness through social media, dog shows and approaching pet owners directly. They call them four to six times in a year.
Blood also has a low shelf life where it can’t be stored for a long time. If a hospital sees more than the average transfusions, then it might be out of stock. Having back up stock is always better than not having any. To tackle this problem, they are also creating a “pool” of regular donors who can be reached for emergency blood donation.