Canine and Feline Blood Donation

When your pet needs a blood transfusion, where does the blood come from? Just like in human medicine, there are animal blood donors! In fact, we have an animal blood bank in Lexington located at MedVet Medical and Cancer Center for Pets and they are in need of blood donors. Please read the information below to find out if your pet is a candidate to donate blood.

What are the requirements for dogs?

  • Must be 1 to 6 years of age for the first donation, but some dogs go on to donate until they are 9 years old
  • Be of good temperament (no biting!)
  • ≥ 50 pounds in weight
  • Females must be spayed
  • Up to date on vaccines
  • Current on heartworm prevention

What are the requirements for cats?

  • Must be 1 to 6 years of age for the first donation, but some cats go on to donate until they are 9 years old
  • Cats are sedated for blood donation, so their temperament is not as exclusive
  • ≥ 9 pounds in weight
  • Females must be spayed
  • Up to date on vaccines
  • Indoor only

Are there any medication restrictions?

  • Animals that are chronically on an NSAID, prednisone or any other essential medication should not donate. For animals that are on an NSAID for a short period of time surrounding an injury, the animal should be off the NSAID for 1 month prior to donating.

Are there certain breeds that shouldn’t donate?

  • There are no breed restrictions

How much blood is drawn at one time?

  • The minimal amount of blood that is drawn is 380g (due to the amount of anticoagulant that is in the bag) and the maximum amount is 450g. The bag is weighed prior to blood collection and then intermittently throughout the process.

How long does it take?

  • Typically animals are dropped off in the morning and go home around 1 or 2. They are fed soon after they give blood (if they do not have food allergies), given water and walked while at the clinic.
  • If necessary, owners can wait while the animal donates the blood and the process can be done quickly.

What is the shelf life of the blood?

  • Blood donations last about 28 days

How often can my pet donate blood?

  • Dogs and cats can donate blood as often as every 3 weeks

Is there an emergency call list?

  • Yes! If you would like your pet to be available for blood donation during emergency situations when the blood bank runs out of it’s supply, please call Sheabel or MedVet.

If you are interested in getting your pet on the blood donor rotation or emergency call list, please contact Mindy Maxey at MedVet Lexington at 859-276-2505. Alternatively you can place your pet’s name on the Sheabel emergency blood donation list (859-268-4444).