Pet blood bank can be the difference between life and death for canine pals

Tyak giving blood during a donation event. The Pet Blood Bank UK provides a canine blood bank service for vets across the UK.
Tyak giving blood during a donation event. The Pet Blood Bank UK provides a canine blood bank service for vets across the UK.
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Frederick the Great of Prussia was undoubtedly quite right when he said that dog was man’s best friend.

Your best canine pal is always there and all he or she will ask in return is a walk, something to eat and a bit of a fuss.

Tyak, Lindsey Kadzevskis golden retriever, has given blood 12 times.

Tyak, Lindsey Kadzevskis golden retriever, has given blood 12 times.

And, knowing how much your pooch means to you, what would you be willing to do to help another who looked set to lose their best friend?

There are some who would give blood, well not theirs, but their pet’s.

And thankfully, there is a service which will gladly accept it and deliver it to canines in need of transfusions.

Launched in 2007, Pet Blood Bank UK is the only charity that provides a canine blood bank service for all veterinary practitioners across the UK.

Similar to the human blood service, dog owners simply take along their much-loved canine companions to give blood at one of its many sessions across the country.

The blood is then taken to a processing centre where it is separated into red blood cells and plasma products, and then stored ready for dispatch.

Lindsey Kadzevski, of Fairfield, Buxton, said her faithful golden retriever, Tyak, has donated 12 times - potentially helping save the lives of 48 dogs.

She said: “It’s amazing the number of people who do not know about canine blood donation and it’s such a shame because they do such a wonderful thing.

“Tyak is such a laid-back dog and when I read about the service I thought, ‘yes, Tyak could do that.

“I want as many people as possible to know about this service because it is so vital.”

And before you start asking, ‘what about the dog. Don’t they get a say in this?’, put your minds at rest, because dogs are assessed before donating to make sure they are happy.

Lara Howe, a session veterinary surgeon for the Pet Blood Bank, said: “We have quite strict criteria to make sure there is no reason they should not donate.

“We check the dog’s body language to see whether they are nervous or fearful before we decide whether or not to go ahead, and if we decide they are not happy then we filter them out.

“The donor animal’s welfare is the most important thing and we stress that to their owners when they come to the sessions.”

The dog will also undergo a blood test to make sure it does not suffer with anaemia.

And if you are picturing your best buddy yelping in pain when the needle is injected then fear not because a local anaesthetic is applied beforehand.

Then, post-donation, the dogs are offered a bowl of food and a goody bag with a red bandana which they are photographed in as a memento.

Lara said: “It’s an amazing feeling to know that each time a dog donates they could be saving up to four dogs’ lives.

“We are the only blood donation charity in the UK and the service often makes the difference between life and death.

“And for those who bring their animals to donate they see it as a small price to pay - especially if they have lost an animal before and know how that feels.”

How your pet can get involved...

The Pet Blood Bank is always on the lookout for new donors and is particularly keen to hear from owners of breeds which typically have negative blood types. With only 30 per cent of donors being a negative blood type, keeping up with demand can be challenging.

Breeds with negative blood include: Dobermans, Greyhounds, Boxers, German Shepherds, Flat-Coated Retrievers, Airedale Terriers, Weimaraners, Lurchers, American Bulldogs, Pointer (English) and English Bull Terriers.

Many of the canine blood donor sessions take place at vets across the country.

To register your dog and locate your nearest session, visit www.petbloodbankuk.org/pet-owners/blood-session-locator.