We take approximately 450ml of blood during a donation from your dog. The blood is taken from the jugular vein in your dog's neck and goes into a special blood collection bag containing anti-coagulants to stop the blood from clotting. The collection set has four bags attached to the tubing, one bag is used to collect the blood and the others are used during processing.
After each donation session, the units of blood collected are transported to our processing centre in Loughborough. The blood is transported in a protective box which allows it to cool down gradually to around 20°C. This is the optimum temperature for the processing stage.
When the blood arrives at our processing centre, our lab team inspect each unit of blood and log the unique reference number which relates to your dog's donor number. This means every unit of blood can be traced back to each donor.
The tubing and needle are removed in sterile conditions and the unit of blood is weighed and placed in the centrifuge. It is then spun at 3,800 revolutions per minute, for fifteen minutes to allow the red blood cells to separate from the plasma.
When the unit is removed from the centrifuge, our lab team carefully transfer the plasma into one of the other collection bags and the red cell nutrient is added to the red cells in the other bag to extend their shelf life to six weeks. Both are labelled with the unique reference numbers.
The plasma is firstly placed in a freezer at -80°C and once frozen, it is transferred into the -34°C freezer with a shelf life of up to five years.
The red blood cells are placed in a special refrigerator and stored at 4°C for up to six weeks.
Dispatch and Use
The units of plasma and red blood cells are stored at Pet Blood Bank UK until they are needed by a vet for a patient.
When required, the unit of plasma or red blood cells is packed carefully in temperature controlled boxes to ensure the temperature is maintained until the blood reaches the vet. When it arrives, it is carefully warmed to body temperature before being transfused to a sick or injured dog.
To read a small selection of stories from our wonderful donors and those they have helped save, please click here.