Aussie vets need more pet blood donors
DONATING blood is just as important for our furry friends as it is for humans - but many of Australia's pet owners have no idea their dogs and cats can help save others' lives.
Just 70 dogs are registered to regularly donate blood and plasma at the country's only licenced community pet blood bank, the Australian Animal Blood Bank in Sydney's Moorebank.
It is one of few places where dogs can donate blood to help vet clinics across the country. The rest are collected at animal hospitals.
The blood bank's director Rebecca Charteris told News Corp Australia her doggie donors have helped deliver blood products for almost 1000 dogs in need, but the demand from vets is increasing.
"The more vets who are using blood products in their clinics, the more there is a need for it," she said.
According to the RSPCA, there are 4.8 million pet dogs in Australia.
Recently, a Royal Veterinary College survey in the UK also found 75 per cent of the world's pet owners had no idea pet blood banks existed.
But 89 per cent said they would allow their pet to donate blood if they were suitable.
In Australia, the most common reasons a dog may need blood or plasma is to treat snake bikes, canine anaemia, parvovirus, cancer, haemophilia and poisoning.
Ethan Johnson, 8, from Matraville in Sydney, would be all right with his best four-legged friend Hugo giving blood.
But parents David and Danielle said they would be hesitant to immediately sign their three-year-old Weimaraner up.
Both of them had not heard of pet blood donations before.
"My first thought would be worry … giving him a needle and giving him pain seems worse than human pain," Mr Johnson said.
"I'd definitely want to be with him … I'd want to know what it's used for."
"I think it's fantastic, I don't know how much it's needed so I don't think people are aware of it. If someone needed it I would probably consider putting him up for it," Mrs Johnson added.
Ms Charteris said the blood bank needs more good-natured dogs that weigh over 25kg, are under age six and are up to date with their vaccinations. Donors typically lend a paw four times a year.
She said the process takes 10 minutes and the owner stays with the dog the entire time.
While there isn't a community cat blood bank in Australia, Ms Charteris hopes to make that a reality in the future.
If you think your dog might make a good blood donor, visit aabb.com.au.
DOG BLOOD DONOR CRITERIA
Your dog can donate blood at Australia's Animal Blood Bank if:
- They have a good temperament
- Weigh between 25-70kg
- Aged between 1-6 years old
- Are in excellent health