Thursday, 8 January 2009


This is a request for help from all dog and cat owners of any breed but specific sizes and certain requirements.

It was just over a week ago l was placing a PBBuk blood bag onto a canine patient post op, relieved we had the blood in as it was midnight and did not have to play hunt the donar. True it was a fluke we had the correct type in for this patient, the one it was ordered in for had died but we had the blood in store. Dogs can take their first transfusion from any of the canine groups but idealy it should be the correct one.

I do not know about humans and blood but with animals we take a pre placement measurement of temperature, pulse, respiration (TPR)and check the gum CRT(capillary refil time). We then put the blood on at a very low flow rate and monitor TPR every 5min while sitting by the patient. If they stay stable for about 20mins then we move to 10min TPR for a few checks then 20(ditto) and finally we will up the flow rate, monitor them again for the first 15 min. If all stays stable we place them on full flow. If they have a bad reaction to the blood we are able to react instantly.

Until not long ago the law would not allow the storing of pet blood. When it was needed then donars were rung and blood sought for immediate use. Thankfully this has all changed and now storage is allowed. This has led to the setting up of the Pet Blood Bank UK

The website is based around dogs and you will not find cats mentioned there. However in 2008, PBBuk was awarded $15,000 from the Waltham Foundation, an organisation which provides funding towards research that directly improves the health and welfare of animals world-wide, which has enabled PBBuk to start the research project into collecting feline blood.

Like canine donors, feline donors will be required to meet certain criteria before they are able to donate. Cats should be indoor cats, fully vaccinated, friendly in nature, aged 1 - 7 years, in good health and a few other requirements. Full info for cat requirements are available via phone

PBBuk break the blood down into whole blood, packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate and cryo-supernatant just the same as the human blood service and this is then available all over the country to vets, sent via courier.
Yes vets do pay for the blood/products it is not free however it is not cheap to run the service and yes the cost is passed onto the owners of animals that have received the end product.

Some times it is not possible for the vets to order blood in and they need to use local donors but the PBBuk has made a huge difference. Before we only had whole blood from local donars. If a practice does not have many blood donors available and they have just given or do not have suitable blood type, or the one that did has owners on holiday etc.

Blood (and their byproducts) are not just a life saver for humans but for dogs and cats so if you think your dog or cat would fit the criteria and are interested in helping, please go to Pet Blood Bank UK and if you fit the criteria apply.

I have helped with a lot of donar dogs and cats and they all come off the table happy to have a bicci and a bowl of food. None have been harmed and many are multiple donors.

There was a situation l was peripherally involved in. A patient had died and the vet decided that the owners that were away may like an autopsy. Bodies for PM must not be frozen so it was left on the side in the back with orders to keep it cool. I asked an auxiliary to sling some wet towels into the freezer these could be placed over the body at various intervals.

One of the nurses decided to place some ice packs around the body to help. A lot of lab slides and tests are sent though chilled with blue ice packs. Practices keep these as they are useful. So the nurse slung a big blue “ice pack” on the dog.

A week later l went back to work and was asked about the dog as l had been there. I explained my part, the nurse asking then broke into shreiks of laughter. It was not a large ice pack but actually several bags of plasma in a blue outer bag.
I stared in astonishment, asking if no one had marked the bags on arrival. I was told well they were marked…inside the blue outer bag.
I am afraid l joined in the general laughter especially when told that it was now about £1000 worth of worthless mush, ok so it was not politcially correct but it was not a small one man practice, then l would have been upset, it was one of the big national groups in the UK and tough tits to them.
Just a pity that the donar dogs blood products ended up useless in that case.

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