Blood Bank Services for Pets
At Veterinary Referral Associates, blood products are often needed for critically ill and injured patients suffering from disorders such as cancer, accident-induced trauma, or blood loss during routine or emergency surgery. We use whole blood, packed red blood cells, and plasma for both dogs and cats, so we are always looking for new blood donors to add to our program.
We value the time and effort required to be part of our blood donor family. At the initial screening, your pet will receive a comprehensive physical exam by one of our board-certified veterinarians along with an extensive bloodwork panel to ensure that they are healthy and able to donate.
In order to continue providing this vital treatment, we need willing owners with healthy cats and dogs that are able to donate blood.
Our Blood Donor Program
Providing blood transfusions for critically ill patients is made possible by volunteer families who give the gift of life by participating in our blood donor program.
Once cleared to donate, your pet will receive a comprehensive exam prior to each donation, along with a yearly exam and bloodwork. In addition to the intrinsic benefits of donating blood to less fortunate pets, there are many perks to being a donor. Please see our Blood Donor Guidelines for more information.
Blood Bank FAQs
Read our most frequently asked questions about the blood donor process for your pet.
- What does the screening process involve?
We take both the safety of our donors and the safety of our blood products very seriously. One of our clinicians will perform a complete physical exam on your pet to make sure they are healthy enough to donate blood. If no abnormalities are noted during the physical exam, we will submit a comprehensive lab work screening. It can take up to two weeks to receive the full lab work results due to the extensive infectious disease panels we run. You will be contacted once the lab work results are in and in addition, a copy of the report will be sent to your regular veterinarian.
- How often can my pet donate?
Your pet regenerates red blood cells quickly enough for them to safely donate blood every 4 to 6 weeks. We try, if possible, to keep the donation schedule to every 6 weeks. During times of high demand, however, we may request some pets donate every 4 weeks.
- How will I know when to bring in my pet to donate?
We will call you and set up a time for your pet to come in and donate. We keep a small supply of blood on hand in our hospital, at all times, which allows us to be flexible when it comes to scheduling donations. Occasionally, we have emergency situations and need blood immediately for a patient in the hospital. If you are able to come in during a crisis, it is greatly appreciated! If you cannot come in, do not worry. We will, hopefully, have other donors we can call and there will certainly be future opportunities for your pet to donate.
- Will my pet be sedated?
The majority of our donors do require mild sedation for their safety and ours. All of our protocols are designed by our board-certified Anesthesiologist. Your pet may appear slightly sedated for the next 12-24 hours, if sedation persists past this period please contact us.
- Do I need to restrict my pet’s activity level after donating blood?
Just like a person, your pet may be a little lethargic for the remainder of the day after donating blood. Allow your pet to set their own activity level. Put off long walks or trips to the dog park until the next day.