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Dog and cat blood donations are needed now more than ever

For the proud “parent” of a fur baby, it’s up there with the worst of nightmaresYour beloved cat or dog is struck by a grave illness — or a car — and needs serious medical treatment.

For the proud “parent” of a fur baby, it’s up there with the worst of nightmaresYour beloved cat or dog is struck by a grave illness — or a car — and needs serious medical treatment.And like human patients, pets can also need blood transfusions, so dog and cat blood donors are increasingly being sought to provide this life-saving service. What’s more, demand for dog and cat blood is rising. There are a couple of reasons for this, said Claire Sharp, an emergency and critical care veterinarian at Murdoch University in Perth. Pet owners have shifted the way they look at their furry friends. “I think 20 years ago, pet cats were outside-only, or only coming inside occasionally,” she said. “They were an aloof member of the family, not like a child or a true family member. As our spending increased and pets started becoming family members, more specialist veterinarians appeared on the scene, such as orthopaedic surgeons and oncologists. Before any pet donates at Melbourne or Murdoch, they must pass a screening process, much like humans: they need to be healthy, carry enough weight and have enough haemoglobin (the molecule that carries oxygen in blood cells). “If the owner has to drag it through the door, we wouldn’t allow such a dog to be in the program.” Aspects of the actual donation process are also identical to ours. Both use the same blood collection equipment: same needle, tubes and bag. Dogs also donate as much as a human giving a whole blood donation: 450 millilitres. This fairly hefty volume means only dogs weighing at least 25 kilograms are eligible to give blood.

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