There are no readily available blood banks for dogs and cats like there are for humans. There are only two privately run blood banks in the UK for dogs, and none for cats. For this reason, we run our own canine blood bank. Every month, a doggy donor donates a unit of blood, which goes towards helping some of our sickest patients. Our nurses are specially trained in blood collection without stress or pain for the pet. A local anaesthetic cream is applied to the neck which means that the prick of the needle as it goes into the vein is not felt. A collection typically takes ten to fifteen minutes. In return, the brave dog gets lots of cuddles, biscuits and tummy tickles from the nurses! We also offer our clients free vaccinations annually with a free ten point health check for pets that are on the blood donor list.
Cats are quite unique with their blood types, like in many other aspects of life! Whilst blood from a donor dog can be given safely to another dog without obtaining a blood type first (in the case of a first transfusion) the situation is not the same for cats. Cat’s have 3 major blood types- A, B and AB. While the majority of ‘moggies’ or domestic shorthair cats are type A, about 20% of pet cats are type B. Type AB and other types (Mik) are rare. Even a small amount of the wrong blood type given to a cat can elicit a very serious and potentially fatal reaction. However, our in-house machines mean we can type each donor and recipient no matter what time of day or night it is.
We also stock several other blood prpducts such as units of Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP). This is a blood product that carries proteins, clotting factors, antibodies and other goodies but not red blood cells. Although becoming less common now, bleeding due to rat poison ingestion is a common toxin ingestion which causes internal bleeding and often requires FFP administration to correct. FFP is very costly, however to provide prompt and effective care for the sickest pets we make sure we always have some in stock.