Can your dog become a canine blood donor?

Dog giving blood to another dog is as common as a human giving blood to another human. Unlike human blood, the shelf life of a dog’s blood is only 30 -35 days. It means that dogs would need to donate frequently to keep the blood bank functioning.

There are fewer blood banks for dogs around the country, whereas the canine accidents are way more common. When dogs (and cats!) have an injury, become ill, or need surgery, a blood transfusion could save their lives. Thanks to the generous blood donors, many of those pets have survived the worst.

Can a dog become a canine blood donor?

Dogs most certainly can become a blood donor for other dogs. In almost every case of blood transfusion, the blood is donated by another dog. In a few cases, the blood of feline (cat) is also used.

The dog’s blood type is distinguished by the antigens and antibodies. This can be classified into four categories.

DEA 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3, also known as A-type

DEA 1 was formerly known as A and consists of four alleles: negative, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. DEA 1.1. It is the most common blood type for most dogs. DEA 1.1 and DEA 1.2 are the most important antigens and together occur in about 60% of dogs, however, DEA 1.2 dogs, which make up 7% to 29% of dogs, will develop potent anti-DEA 1.1 antibodies once transfused with DEA 1.1 cells.

Dogs that are DEA 1.1 positive or A-Type are considered universal recipients. They can receive the blood of any type without expectation of a life-threatening hemolytic transfusion reaction.

Dogs that are DEA 1.1 negative are considered universal donors. They can donate blood to any other dog.

DEA 4

DEA 4 occurs in up to 98% of dogs, and dogs with this type alone are considered universal donors. Only about 75% of Doberman pinschers are DEA 4 positive. Naturally occurring DEA 4 antibodies are not known to exist; however, hemolytic transfusion reactions can occur after sensitization with DEA 4 positive blood transfusions in dogs lacking that antigen.4

DEA 3 and 5

DEA 3 and 5 are expressed in lesser proportions of the dog population, but DEA 3 occurs in 23% of greyhounds, and 30% of greyhounds are DEA 5 positive. Naturally occurring antibody is present in 20% of DEA 3 negative dogs and 10% of DEA 5 negative dogs in the United States.2

DEA 7

DEA 7 is present in 8% to 45% of dogs. Naturally occurring antibodies have been observed against DEA 7, with a delayed transfusion reaction causing the decreased lifespan of transfused cells but no hemolysis.

A single canine blood donation can be used to save up to 4 dogs’ lives!

Can Any Dog Give Blood?

The veterinarian society has specified certain requirements for canine blood donation.

  • A dog must be healthy, weighing 35 pounds or more, and must be between the ages of 9 months and about 9 years old
  • The dog must have been spayed or neutered, with no history of pregnancy in the case of female dogs
  • Must have no history of the disease and not taking any medications
  • Must be taking a heartworm preventive
  • Must have followed with veterinarian’s preventive health and vaccination schedule.
  • Must be well-behaved and friendly to avoid the need for sedation.

Blood Donation Process

The blood donation process includes relaxing the dog, taking out blood, replenishing the donor, and preserving the donated blood.

A typical donation takes about 10 to 30 minutes. The donor is placed on a table and relaxed. A small patch of fur on the dog’s neck is shaved, and a tiny needle is inserted to collect the blood.

As soon as the blood is drawn, the dog’s body begins to produce more to replace it. The donors are replenished by offering water and snacks immediately after donation. While some dogs may be sluggish or weak after donating, others have no reaction at all.

How big does a dog have to be to donate blood?

Only a fully grown canine is used for blood donation. There are many requirements that a dog must pass before begin assigned a donor.

Every blood donation program has slightly different requirements for its donors, taking into account the health and size of the animal.

According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, there are two types of blood donation programs:

  • Full Pint
  • Half Pint

While dogs of various sizes and breeds can meet donor requirements, their weight determines which donation program they will be placed into once they meet the basic behavioral and health criteria.

The potential donor dogs must be in generally good health. The veterinarian will then ascertain if donors meet their required vaccinations, including distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis, and rabies.

They must be free of any medications other than flea, tick, and heartworm preventative.

Dogs who have received blood transfusions or those with heart murmurs or other cardiac issues aren’t ineligible to donate blood.

The dogs must be spayed or neutered, with no history of pregnancy for female dogs.

Age and weight requirements vary slightly from across programs, typically ranging from one to nine years of age and thirty-five to fifty pounds or more without being overweight.

Adult Greyhound dogs represent the bulk of the blood donors in the U.S. They typically have a universal blood type that any dog can receive. They also have big neck veins that make drawing blood easy.

Where do vets get blood for dogs?

The vets get blood for dogs from other dogs. Most of the time, they use the nearest blood center to get the Blood for transfusion. Other times, a dog is brought in for direct transfusion.

In many instances, blood is collected from a donor at the time it is needed from an animal that is nearby.

Dog blood is available from blood banks that centralize the collection of blood from pet dogs through larger facilities which are then able to separate blood into different components and prepare it for storage. Be wary that the shelf life of a dog’s blood is only 30-35 days.

Wherever possible, cats and dogs should receive blood from a donor of the same species and blood type. In some cases, a different animal such as a cat can give blood to the dog.

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best veterinary in Des Moines specializing in pet care, pet health, and training. Get in touch with Veterinary in Des Moines to learn more about safe blood transfusion in dogs and cats.

Is hairball common in Dogs?

Although it’s uncommon among canines, coughing up hairball can sometimes be a problem for dogs with medium to long fur. It is mostly attributed to self-grooming, however, there other reasons for the dogs to ingest its own hair.

Unlike dogs, felines or cats have a major problem of vomiting hairballs frequently as they are more susceptible to self-grooming and cleanliness causing ingestion of huge amount of hair.

 

What is hairball?

Known as tricholith or trichobezoar, hairball is the accumulated animal hair or fur that surrounds a non-digestible item generally stuck inside the stomach of the animal. It is generally accumulated when the hair doesn’t pass through feces and is stuck in the intestine.

The hairball is generally shaped rounded, tubular or spherical, depending on amount ingested. It can be wet and soggy mass or a dry one too.

Why do dogs cough up hairballs?

Typically, a dog who inadvertently swallows his own hair or fur in the process of self-grooming will pass any stray hairs in his feces. As they don’t often groom themselves like cats, ingestion of hair is least common among most dogs.

Hairball formation has a kind of snowball effect; once a hairball begins to form, the more hair a dog ingests, the larger it becomes. Once a hairball is large enough, physical discomfort may compel them to vomit it out.

Self-grooming

Self-grooming is the major cause of hair ingestion. The licking of own fur can sometimes lead to ingestion of hair and causes to accumulate inside the bowel.

Fur Shedding

Fur shedding can be other major reason for hair ingestion. There is fur shedding season for dogs which can cause them to ingest more hair than often.

Wound, Tick-bite or Allergy

Sometimes, wound or tick-bite can cause dogs to lick their hair more often. This can lead to ingestion of more amount of hair which isn’t easily passable through the bowel.

Eating prey

Some dogs with prey instincts tend to eat up the whole animal with feather and furs. Since hair is indigestible, it will remain inside their stomach and accumulate over the time.

How to prevent it?

There are many ways to prevent dogs from swallowing their own hair. First, let’s look at the symptoms of hairball problems.

Symptoms

  • Repeated attempts to cough or vomit
  • Dry heaving
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gagging
  • Diarrhea
  • A bloated stomach, in more serious cases

The possible prevention methods for hairball ingestion are;

Go to Vet

See you veterinarian to assess if your pet has any skin allergy or parasitic infestation. If it isn’t skin allergy or parasitic infestation, the vet may refer laxative or dietary changes.

Hydration

A well-hydrated dog experiences efficient bowel movements.

Grooming

Grooming is essential to keep pet skin cleaner. It prevents excessive licking of fur which may cause hair fall.

Playtime

Dogs which are more preoccupied with boredom may start chewing or licking themselves simply to pass the time. This may cause hair ingestion, hence, you need to keep your dog occupied with enough fun time.


Learn more about pet care and grooming.

National Mutt Day - July 31

The mixed breed makes over 50% of all the canines found in United States and over 15 million around the world. According to HelpaMutt.com, almost 75% of all the canines who land up in animal shelters are mutts. Pet owners are preconceived with many misconceptions about mixed breeds, which makes them choose a pure bred over the other.

Also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day, Mutt Day is celebrated to raise the awareness about Mutts’ plight in the animal shelters. It also highlights the important fact, potential pet owners should choose personality over the purity of the canine.

terrier mixed breedNational Mutt Day was first organized in 2005 by pet expert and animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige. She instituted not just one but two different dates for the Mutts’ Day, July 31 and Dec 2, to achieve her goal of getting 10,000 shelter dogs into loving homes and among pet owners.

The Mutt Day campaign mostly works for eliminating the misconceptions about mutts and help save dogs from landing up in shelters.

Benefits of Choosing Mutts

  • Mutts tend to have longer life than pure bred
  • Mutts are generally healthier and tend to be immune to many breed-specific diseases.
  • Every mutt has variety of coat and patterns, hence none of the mutts are alike. The mutt you choose will have unique features among all the available canine.
  • Every mutt adopted from shelter means one less dog from the street.
  • When pet owners choose mutts over pure bred, it will discourage the unnatural dog breeding in puppy farms.
  • It helps to eliminate the prevalent status quo among most upper and upper-middle class pet owners.

As reported by American Kennel Club, Labrador Retriever remains the most popular choice among the pet owners for a pure breed, while German Shepherd makes up the most popular owned breed as both a pure breed and as a component of mixed breed.


The most popular mutts available in United States today are;

Mutt

Original breeds

Chiweenie

Chihuahua & Dachschund

Cavapoo

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel & Poodle

Pomchi

Chihuahua & Pomeranians

Jack Chi

Chihuahua & Jack Russell Terriers

Labradane

Labrador retriever & Great Dane

Labrabull

Labrador retriever & Great PitBull Terrier

Shih-Poo

ShihTsu & Poodle

Mastador

Mastiff & Labrador retriever

Chipin

Pinschers & Chihuahua