Animal blood donors are desperately needed.
It's not something we think about, but pets need blood when they get injured or sick just as their owners do. And, summer seems to be the busiest time.
"People are out and about, and animals are out and about. So we'll see a lot of injuries, animals being hit by cars, dog bites, cat bites, things like this where they'll require blood products."
Milwaukee ER Veterinarian Marla Lichtenberger, DVM, says in addition to summer injuries, pets require blood for illnesses, just as people would. The owner of Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals says she started out using blood donated from the pets of hospital staff members, but that's not enough for the 24/7 hospital and critical care facility.
"Because of the large numbers of patients that we're seeing, we have a large number of patients that are requiring blood products. And even animals like we have had some cases of a ferret and even a rabbit that needed blood, too."
Blood can be stored for about 30 days, while plasma can be stored for up to a year — frozen plasma for up to five years. Lichtenberger urges people to consider donating the blood of their healthy cat or dog to help reduce the shortage. Her hospital makes it worth your while. As you help other animals, each donor pet receives a free health exam and full blood work-up for every donation. In addition, there is a $25 hospital credit given for each donation. Check with your local veterinarian for donation locations.
Criteria to donate blood :
- Cats and dogs need to be younger than 8 years old.
- Animals must be healthy
- Cats must weigh more than 10 pounds.
- Dogs must weigh more than 50 pounds.