Blood for pet transfusions is in very short supply, says IndyVet

Posted at 10:23 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-19 13:45:33-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- We often hear pleas from human blood banks when donated blood is in short supply, but it's rare to hear about a desperate need for pet blood donors.

"Right now, our need is great. We have a very limited supply and we have a very high demand so this time of year we have a lot of infectious diseases that cause anemia, traumas, you know dogs are out and about in the warm weather," said Dr. Kelly Robertson, IndyVet Director of Emergency Services & Blood Donation Center.

Dr. Robertson says that, combined with a large number of donor dogs retiring, has created a short supply for vet hospitals locally and across the country.

"So right now we have the bare minimum of what we keep for our hospital and so we have nothing available to give to anyone else," said Dr. Robertson.

When Bethany Schultz's dog Chopper was diagnosed with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia a few years ago, she wasn't sure what she would do.

"So we came here to IndyVet and he needed at least four blood transfusions," said Schultz.

Her other dog now donates to help other pets.

"So Zaha is a superhero, she is a universal donor, we get to come in monthly and she donates blood and it's a really great perfect circle. It's a lifesaver," said Schultz.

There are certain requirements if you're interested in having your pet donate. The animal must be one to 8 years old and be in good general health. Dogs must weigh more than 35 pounds and cats must weigh more than nine pounds.

One unit of blood has the potential to save up to four lives. Click here for more information about pet blood donation. 

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