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World Blood Donor Week 12th – 18th June
Countless lives have been saved by the donation of blood, but did you know that this is also true in the veterinary world?
“Blood donor dogs and cats are very important, and provide a much needed contribution in the veterinary world”, says Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. “As World Blood Donor Week draws near, PIA asks the Australian public to give thanks to the countless companion animals who are helping save lives with the donation of blood.”
For many emergency and trauma departments in veterinary hospitals across Australia, donor blood products are vital in helping those animals most in need. – The only problem? Not many pet owners are aware of the demand.
“As the services and healthcare options increase for companion animals, so does the increase in demand for donations”, says Crighton. “In many cases blood donating dogs and cats come from veterinarians and veterinary nurses themselves.”
Pet Insurance Australia firmly believes that if more of the general public understood this demand, more donations would be received.
The Blood Bank Coordinator, Rebecca Charteris, from the Australian Animal Blood Bank in NSW understands the importance of blood donor dogs.
“There is a general lack of awareness and understanding when it comes to pet dogs and cats requiring blood transfusions”, Rebecca says. “People tend to have never thought of the concept unless they have enquired about the donor program or unfortunately have one of their own pets in a situation where a life-saving blood transfusion was required.”
The Australian Animal Blood Bank was established to meet the growing demand of veterinary practitioners throughout Australia for blood products. Today they provide readily available, quality blood and transfusion products to veterinarians across Australia.
“How much blood we supply depends on the availability of our donors at the time. The amount of donors we have available and the number of units requested by the veterinary hospitals who practice life-saving transfusions”, Rebecca says. “We like to have the donations that we collect at a donor session already allocated to the veterinary hospitals before we collect it; as blood has a limited shelf life and it is best utilised as quickly as possible.”
The Australian Animal Blood Bank’s blood products most commonly go to emergency and specialist veterinary hospitals, as these hospitals tend to see a higher volume of trauma patients and patients with diseases that may need blood transfusions.
There are also great benefits for dogs who give their blood on a regular basis.
“Not only do they provide a wonderful service to the veterinary world, they also have access to free health screening, blood typing and annual health screenings while on the program”, says PIA’s Nadia Crighton. “Dogs who also donate on a regular basis will receive free blood products if they need them.”
How can the Australian companion animal population help? It’s simple. “We always welcome members of the public who are able to bring their pets to our current donor location in South Western Sydney to contact us and we will answer their question”, says Rebecca. “We are always looking for companies to support our service by means of providing either pet food for our donors, toys or vouchers etc. to help make the experience for our donor dogs and their families a little bit more rewarding.”
The Australian Animal Blood Bank is licensed to manufacture blood products by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and their products are registered for veterinary use. The products are available to veterinarians throughout Australia and our donor clinic is currently only in NSW.
“We would love to see an Australian Animal Blood Bank donor clinic in each state, as there are so many pups and their owners out there who are willing to help”, says Rebecca.
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