The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Dog blood donors deliver milestone achievement

Dogs donate enough blood to help save the lives of more than 2,000 fellow canines.

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The Dick Vet is marking World Blood Donor Day today by celebrating the dogs who have donated blood at the Hospital for Small Animals, at donation sessions hosted in partnership with the charity Pet Blood Bank.

Over the past seven years, more than 600 dogs have together donated 514 units of blood at the Dick Vet, which provided enough blood products to help save the lives of up to 2,056 other dogs.

Enabling transfusions

Like humans, there are times when dogs need blood transfusions.

Pet Blood Bank run donation sessions at veterinary practices across the UK, where blood from donor dogs is separated into different products and stored, making it available to vets when needed, with every unit of blood able to help up to four other dogs.

The charity was borne out of a change in legislation in 2005 which made it possible to collect, process and store blood from healthy pets.

As a busy emergency veterinary hospital, the Hospital for Small Animals performs several canine blood transfusions a week. Being able to access blood easily through the Pet Blood Bank, benefits both its vets and patients.

Donation sessions

Fender and Carmen
Fender and Carmen

A veterinary team from the Hospital work with Pet Blood Bank staff and run blood donation sessions at the Hospital every eight weeks. Owners of dogs on the Pet Blood Bank register in the Edinburgh area are contacted and asked to bring their dogs in to donate, depending on what blood type is most needed at the time.

After a health check by a vet, the dogs donate blood in a painless procedure that takes less than 10 minutes, before being rewarded with treats and Pet Blood Bank goodies.

Emergency care

Dick Vet Veterinary nurse and Pet Blood Bank team member Susan Campbell knows from personal experience the value of dog blood donation. She was instrumental in establishing the Hospital as a donation centre for the Pet Blood Bank and her own dog, a boxer-cross named Fender, donated 29 times before retiring from the service. When her other dog, a spaniel-cross called Carmen, was suddenly taken ill, she saw the other side of the Pet Blood Bank service.

Carmen was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia (IMHA), which meant that her immune system had started to attack her own red blood cells. She was admitted to the Hospital for Small Animals’ intensive care unit and as part of her treatment received two transfusions with blood donated by dogs from a recent Pet Blood Bank session. Thanks to the blood transfusions she received, and the care of the vet team at the Hospital, Carmen went on to make a full recovery.

I am proud to work with Pet Blood Bank and support the vital work of this charity. I am so grateful to them, the vet team at the Dick Vet and the dogs who donated their blood, for helping to save Carmen’s life. I would urge all dog owners to consider contacting Pet Blood Bank to see if their dog is suitable for donating blood.

Susan CampbellVeterinary Nurse, Hospital for Small Animals, Pet Blood Bank Team Member and Carmen's owner

It is such a delight to partner with the Hospital for Small Animals to run our donation sessions in Edinburgh. It is only thanks to their support, and the support we receive from venues across the UK, that we can keep our lifesaving service running. Today, on World Blood Donor Day, our thanks go to them, and of course to all the fabulous dogs and their owners who attend the donation sessions.

Nicole OsborneMarketing Manager, Pet Blood Bank

Related Links

Pet Blood Bank

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About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies  

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than eight hundred staff and almost fourteen hundred students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.  

The School comprises:  

The Roslin Institute  

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security  

The Roslin Innovation Centre  

The Hospital for Small Animals  

Equine Veterinary Services  

Farm Animal Services  

Easter Bush Pathology  

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education  

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.