Can your canine companion donate the gift of life to help a four-legged friend going through a ruff patch?
There’s a global need for blood products for veterinary medicine in Canada and around the world, said Dr. Erinne Branter, a specialist in internal medicine and interventional radiology at Westcoast Animal Veterinary Emergency Specialty (WAVES) Hospital in Langford.
WAVES Vet Hospital, which performs five to seven transfusions involving canine patients each month on average, is hosting a K9 Blood Donor Clinic in conjunction with the Canadian Animal Blood Bank to address the increasing demand for blood products.
Most common reasons for the procedure include post-operative, immune-mediated blood diseases and trauma resulting from injuries such as getting hit by a vehicle, for example, Branter noted.
“Dogs DEA is similar to humans,” she explained. “They have several different blood types, and that can include variations in the same breed. It’s lifesaving. When we can’t source blood products that are a match for our patients, we can potentially lose them.”
While transfusi0ns have been around as long as veterinary medicine, blood banks were created only recently as a way to provide a consistent source of products.
“In the past, people had to rely on a friend’s pet, for example,” Branter said. “That’s no longer a viable option in large-scale hospitals. That’s why donor clinics are critically important.”
WAVES Hospital is hosting the blood donor clinic on Saturday, Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 947 Langford Pkwy. Dogs must have their vaccinations up to date, have an even or calm temperament, be at least 55 pounds, and between one and eight years of age.
For more information or to register your dog, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAVES is independently owned by four specialists, said Richelle Straith, public relations manager. “They saw the need for a hospital like this, especially considering the growth on the West Shore.”
The number of staff has doubled to more than 60 people since the hospital opened in April. “We have patients from all over the Island getting referred to us,” Straith said. The hospital has five examination rooms for dogs and two for cats and recently opened a rehabilitation room. “Having the dogs and cats separated keeps everyone happy,” she noted. WAVES is currently open 24 hours a day four days a week, with plans to move to 24 hours and seven days in the new year. Services include emergency, surgery, critical care, internal medicine and rehabilitation. For more information, visit wavesvet.com.