Britain’s only canine blood bank has launched an appeal for more owners to allow their dogs to donate after a massive surge in pet operations has left stocks dry.
Pet Blood Bank UK has reported a 50 per cent increase in the amount of blood required by canine surgery as advances in veterinary science allow more complex operations.
The huge rise has left blood stocks dangerously low meaning dogs who suffer serious injuries are at an increased risk of dying.
The charity is now launching a nationwide appeal for more owners to put their pets forward as donors.
Veterinary nurse Katrina Wilkinson, who founded the Pet Blood Bank UK in 2007, revealed yesterday (Fri) the charity is ”desperate” for more donors.
She said: ”Since we started the charity and it has been possible to store dog blood there has been a huge rise in the use of transfusion medicine by vets.
”When I worked as a nurse we used to bring in our own dogs and take blood from them there and then for operations or to treat other dogs.
”Now we can store blood ready for transfusions, which allows vets to have it on hand for a wide range of different operations.
”We desperately need owners to come forward with their dogs to give blood, especially if they are negative, as the stocks are low.”
Pet Blood Bank UK sent out 3,000 units, 250ml packs, of red blood cells and plasma in 2010 compared to just 2,200 units in 2009.
The charity has collected over 10 thousand pints of blood from almost 3,000 dogs since it was founded in 2007.
Just one pint of blood can be used to save up to four dogs in both emergency and pre-planned transfusions.
Research has shown that 30 per cent of dogs have negative blood, which can be given to any dog, while the remaining 70 per cent are in the positive group.
Vet Jenny Walton, who works at the charity, revealed they are very keen to build up stocks of the non-specific blood type.
She said: ”Veterinary science has progressed very fast and we have seen vets asking us for more and more for blood for transfusions.
”A vets practice will carry out a transfusion about once a year, but when you consider how many practices there are in the UK you realise how much blood is required.
”There will always be people who say giving a transfusion is a step too far but when you ask owners if they want to prolong their dogs’ lives they always say yes.”
Pet blood donor sessions are carried out at vet surgeries across Britain. For more information dog owners should visit www.petbloodbankuk.org.