Pet Blood Bank UK (PBBuk), the UK’s first national canine blooddonation charity, is celebrating its second birthday this month (March2009).
PBBuk has been successfully collecting, processing and storing blood components over the past two years, and the increased availability of blood products has helped to save the lives of thousands of dogs. To date, 1200 dogs have been signed up to the charity’s register, and every time one of these dogs donates blood, it can potentially save the lives of four other dogs.
To celebrate the milestone, canine blood donors gathered at a blood collection session on March 5 at Vets4Pets on Station Road, Fulwell, Sunderland – one of the many practices across the country that hosts collection services.
Wendy Barnett, VN and executive director of Pet Blood Bank UK, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating our second birthday – the demand for our service and the feedback we receive is testament to the importance of blood products in modern veterinary medicine. We are reliant on the kind support of the veterinary practices that allow us to hold our blood donation sessions on their premises, and are always looking for more practices to support us so we can be local to as many dogs and their owners as possible.”
The charity is also working hard to educate the veterinary professionals on the importance of blood typing. For the purpose of preventing major transfusion reactions, dogs can be classified according to their DEA (dog erythrocyte antigen) 1.1 status – negative or positive.
Most patients, however, are receiving negative blood during transfusions. Jenny Walton, veterinary supervisor at PBBuk, said: “Although this is safe, it is not necessary and if practices could use type-matched blood in every situation, apart from unavoidable emergencies, we could make full use in the long term of our many superb volunteered DEA 1.1 positive donors. Testing a dog’s blood type is easy, and knowing a dog’s blood type would mean that, should the worst happen, rapid transfusions with the correct blood group are possible.”
The charity is currently researching conscious blood collection in cats and hopes to soon be extending its service to feline patients. Any profit made by PBBuk is re-invested into educational programmes, enabling ongoing research and awareness into the importance of a pet blood service.
If veterinary practices are able to host a blood collection service, they should contact PBBuk on 01509 232 222 or 0844 800 9925 (5p/min) or visit www.petbloodbankuk.org .