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Could you be a lifesaver ?

· · '' I contacted Pet Blood Bank after seeing a post on your Facebook page, we made an initial appointment and waited for the day to arrive – there is lots of information on their website about what to expect and answer any questions you may have - https://www.petbloodbankuk.org/ When the day came we arrived for the appointment. The actual taking of blood is only about 5 minutes but we were in with them for a total of about 45 minutes as they explain every step in detail and wait for your dog to be happy to proceed to the next stage. If at any point they are not they end the donation and invite you to try again next time, they said many dogs take 3 or 4 visits to successfully give any blood they can use but this is fine, they would rather the dogs are happy at every stage. The first stage is a health check where they examine your dog, listen to their heart, take their temperature and weigh them, they shave the dogs neck ready to give blood, they also take a small sample from another site to test there and then for anaemia amongst other things to check the dog is healthy to donate blood. The dog also gets loads of time to sniff round, have a huge fuss made of them and eat sooo many treats! If this all goes well you go into another room and there are 3 staff, one to take the actual blood and 2 others to assist. Again they explained every step and reassured me they would stop at any point if they felt my dog was stressed or unhappy and I could also stop the process at any point if I was concerned about anything. When everything was ready they lifted him onto the table and lay him on his side, this is probably the hardest part as its unnatural for your dog to be lifted in that way and also to be put straight on their side. They support him to stay there and hold him briefly and as soon as he relaxed they started, inserted the cannula, and then the praise, tickles and reassurance from all of them started. I was by his head so I also could reassure him and touch his face. (If you are squeamish or don’t want to watch you don’t have to)

They started a timer and the blood began to flow straight into a bag on some scales on the floor and the weight went up and up, as soon as it reaches the necessary amount they stop and there is also a cut off for time when they stop even if the bag isn’t full. Throughout all of this they are constantly monitoring your dog for signs of distress. He wriggled a couple of times which they said he probably would and they supported him to stay still -

had he not relaxed again quickly it would have been stopped. They 100% have the dogs welfare as their priority and want to ensure they are happy all the time and not scare them or put them off going to the vets in the future. They also kept checking in with me that I was happy to continue. Once it was finished they removed the cannula, applied pressure for a short while and then put on a pressure bandage round his neck. This had to stay on for 30 minutes and I removed it at home. They checked his heart rate was ok and he was lifted off of the table and was showered with more treats, tickles and cuddles by everyone. On the way out he was able to choose a new toy from a selection and given a bag of treats and a bandana to take home. He also had his picture taken as you can see which they use for publicity but you can opt out if you like. The whole experience was so positive and we passed and met many dogs there who have attended many times already, there were lots of waggy tails and happy dogs. There is no pressure on the dog or the owner to continue if at any step they feel uncomfortable and I really felt I could have stopped it at any time. Bruno had to take it easy for the rest of the day and no walk that day but he didn’t mind, he enjoyed lots more cuddles and a huge fuss at home too. We are booked in for his second donation in October.

It would be great if others would consider donating and the criteria is as follows from the Pat Blood Bank website -

For your dog to be a blood donor, they must meet certain criteria. Your dog’s welfare is always our priority and so for them to become a lifesaver, they must be:

  • Fit and healthy

  • Between one and eight years old

  • Weigh more than 25kg

  • Have a good temperament

  • Have never travelled outside of the UK and Ireland

  • Vaccinated or have an annual titre test after the first year booster*

  • Not on any medication

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