An award-winning animal hospital in Yorkshire has issued an urgent appeal for dog owners to sign their pets up to be potentially life-saving blood donors.
Paragon Veterinary Referrals, in Wakefield, has issued the appeal as donations for emergency blood banks have declined rapidly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The specialist-led referral centre, which is part of Linnaeus, is one of many vet practices across the country which receives often lifesaving blood and plasma from the national charity, Pet Blood Bank UK.
However, a recent survey in Veterinary Record showed that while 88 per cent of pet owners in the UK said their quality of life had improved since owning a pet, 70 per cent were actually unaware their pets could be blood donors for other animals in need.
The necessity for blood on standby for emergencies at Paragon was highlighted by a dachshund called Molly, who could have died had it not been for the blood transfusion she received there.
Maddie Enderby, a veterinary nurse at Paragon, said: “The Pet Blood Bank is a vital resource for us, highlighted by cases such as Molly. She needed an operation on her ear, during which there were complications which resulted in her losing a lot of blood.
“Thankfully, Molly fully recovered but had we not had blood available to give her immediately, it could have been a very different story.
“While COVID-19 has reduced donations drastically, we know that our biggest challenge is a lack of knowledge. Many owners are unaware their pet can donate blood, therefore raising awareness is key to saving more lives.”
Launched in 2007, Pet Blood Bank UK is the only charity that provides a canine blood bank service for all UK veterinary practitioners across the UK.
To be a blood donor, dogs must be:
- Fit and healthy
- Aged between one and eight years old
- Weigh more than 25kg
- Have a good temperament
- Have never travelled abroad
- Be fully-vaccinated
- Not taking any medication
Dogs who donate get a special bandana, a free health check and even a free meal.
As well as using the blood for its own patients, Paragon also makes it available to other vets in the area.
If you think your dog could be a donor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Paragon on 01924 908333.