Almost 20 canine companions visited a veterinary hospital in Langford on Saturday to donate the gift of life to other furry, four-legged pals.
The Westcoast Animal Veterinary Emergency Specialty (WAVES) Hospital partnered with the Canadian Animal Blood Bank to hold a dog blood drive clinic. This is the first time the Canadian Animal Blood Bank has hosted a clinic in B.C. and all of the donor appointments were filled.
About 20 dogs visited the hospital to donate one bag of blood each. That one bag will be able to help up to three dogs in need of transfusions for various reasons such as medical trauma and chemotherapy. The blood will be distributed throughout Canada for use at many different hospitals.
“Much like humans we need blood on a routine basis in our hospital,” said Dr. Erinne Branter, a specialist in internal medicine and interventional radiology at WAVES.
“Much like humans we need to use these blood products as lifesaving measures in our facility,” she explained
Many different large, healthy dogs were at the clinic. Teresa Okeefe brought her seven-year-old dog, Luda, to the blood drive. Luda has donated blood five times already and was very calm while her blood was being drawn on Saturday. Afterwards, she went back to being playful and even received a toy and some treats to take home.
“Luda has a universal blood type so we bring her in whenever there’s a chance to do it and she saves lives,” Okeefe said.
Dogs, like humans, have several different blood types that can also include variations in the same breed.
Dr. Erin Simmonds, who works in critical care at WAVES, said having a blood supply on-hand for dogs can be lifesaving.
“For example, dogs that are anemic, have had major surgery or have eaten certain toxins like rat poison are often in need of transfusions,” Simmonds said. “It can make a world of a difference for that pet for sure.”
Simmonds said some owners drove with their dogs all the way to Langford from up-Island on Saturday just to donate blood.
“There’s a lot of community support for the dogs that potentially need transfusions,” Simmonds said. “And this blood will not only support local pets, but it will go all over Canada.”
WAVES said many dogs were placed on a waitlist to donate blood, showing that there is a lot of interest in the region to help out. The hospital plans on hosting another blood clinic in the future.