UK Shortage of dog blood donors
Reports are coming in of severe shortages of dog blood in the UK especially areas of rural Wales where supplies are not able to arrive in time to save dogs.
The only nationwide blood bank, the Pets Blood Bank (PBBUK) reported that certain areas of Wales are especially at risk of having fresh and regular supplies of pet blood. To combat this, they are holding recruitment sessions in Wales throughout July to get a list of donors and also highlight the issues.
Joanne Patterson who is a spokesperson said that:
"While people are planning their holidays they're more concerned about kennelling their dogs and making sure they'll be happy than they are about giving blood,"
"But even though the summer is a particular problem, it can be a struggle year-round to ensure we have safe stock levels.
"The feedback we've had isn't so much that owners are reluctant to allow their pets to become donors, it's more that it simply doesn't dawn on them that there's a need for animal blood until their own pet requires it.
"So we're just trying to make all owners and vets aware of the issue whether they go on a local register or donate through PBBUK, or indeed both."
Even though the PBBUK stockpiles blood it also has a lot of specialised products too. What they are hoping for though is that vets are able to get in touch with local owners so they will not have such a heavy reliance on the PBBUK. With the organisation being based in Loughborough, it is often hard to reach areas of the country in time. They want vets to build up list of local owners who have dogs willing to give blood. This will therefore give a viable option in time of an emergency.
Mike Jessop who is a vet based in Merthr Tydfil said that "owners need to be aware of the need for volunteers, and vets - especially those who're more than an hour away from urban centres - need to have an emergency plan for what they'd do if they were to receive a major trauma requiring more than one transfusion."
"But it's by no means doom and gloom. There are actually more blood donors than ever before, and the reason that there's a shortage is because we're getting better and better at treating conditions which would have almost certainly proved fatal in the past."
For a dog to give blood it is said to be harmless and often they go their entire lives without being called upon. Dogs need to weigh over 25kg and unlike humans there are generally speaking no differences in the types of blood that can be transferred due to dogs not having as strong of an immune response. The most common breeds are German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Labradors. Donors are usually best if they are larger dogs.