FAQs on blood donation in pooches

Blood transfusion has always been an emergency and a life saving procedure in veterinary practice. Lack of blood typing kits, blood collection bags, storage equipments and donors in crisis continue to be a constraint for the needy animals. Jeevashram has established a dog blood bank, which would be instrumental in saving the lives of pets. Dr Vinod Sharma answers a few FAQs pet parents have on the subject of blood donation.

Q: How do I know if my dog is eligible for blood donation?
A: Your pet dog:
Dr Vinod Sharma

  • Should be 1 to 8 years old.
  • Should be clinically healthy.
  • Should weigh a minimum 20 kg.
  • Should have been vaccinated and dewormed periodically.
  • If female, then should not be pregnant or delivered pups.
  • Should not have donated blood within 9 weeks.
  • Should be free from infectious and haemoprotozoan diseases.
  • Should not have received blood earlier.

Q: How is the blood taken from my dog?
A: For friendly, cooperative dogs, no sedation is required for blood collection. The dog is made to lie down in lateral side and a small area on the neck is clipped and blood is collected from the jugular vein. If your dog is unco-operative or restless, then blood collection will be done under sedation, in that case your pet should be brought on an empty stomach.
Q: How much blood will be collected from my dog?
A: Around 300-400 ml of whole blood can be collected depending on the donor’s body weight.
Q: Will my pet be unwell after blood donation?
A: The blood collection will cause no harm to your pet. If your dog is sedated, then he will take some time for recovery, intravenous fluids are given after the collection to compensate the volume loss.
Q: Are there blood groups for dogs like humans?
A: Yes there are more than eight blood groups out of which DEA1:1 type is most significant for blood transfusion. If your dog is DEA1:1 negative, then the blood can be donated to any other dog.
Q: My dog is a German Shepherd, will his blood be useful for other breeds?
A: Dog blood groups are not breed specific, any breed can donate blood to any other breeds.
Q: Do I have to give any medication for blood production?
A: No. The blood will be produced within three weeks naturally.
Q: Will proper disposables be used for blood collection?
A: The blood bags come with an attached needle, hence each bag will be used for each dog after transfusion of the blood, and the bag will be properly disposed. The blood bag cannot be reused.
Q: How will my pet’s blood be used?
A: Your dog’s blood will be used to save critically ill dog who suffers from anaemia of any cause or blood loss of various reasons or any pre/post surgical management as and when required.
Q: How often can my dog donate blood a year?
A: Dogs can donate blood every nine to ten weeks but it’s good if we wait for three months. Please donate your dog’s blood to save another dog’s life.
(Dr Vinod Sharma, qualified veterinarian from Guru Jambheshwar University and RSPCA (London) runs Jeevashram dog blood bank in New Delhi. He is author of the popular book- Care of Dogs & Cats).