Our donors can donate up to six times a year.
No, most dogs don't even realise that they are donating blood! We do use local anaesthetic cream to prevent discomfort. In addition, we find that by making lots of fuss and giving reassurance, the dogs are very happy.
Please call us on 01509 232 222 if you are able to attend your appointment. If this is outside office hours and your appointment is at the weekend, please listen to our voicemail message and call the mobile number listed.
Doing something new for the first time can naturally be unsettling (as it for us humans). Preparation is key to success, and by reading through these training guides you and your dog will know what to expect. These training sheets have been supplied with special thanks to a former PBB Veterinary Nurse and dog behaviourist, Catherine Burniston VN, DipCABT:
Some dogs are restless during their first donation as they are young or naturally fidgety. However, we often find dogs settle better at their next donation as they are more familiar with the process. Please also have a look at our training information sheets in the question above, as undertaking some training prior to coming along if your dog is particularly restless. Please discuss this with the team on the day and our Session Coordinator prior to coming along to your next session as well.
To donate, it is important for both your own dog's health and that of the recipient, that your dog is fit, healthy and not on any medication.
If your dog has been unwell recently but your veterinary surgeon has not prescribed any medication or diet/exercise restrictions and they are back to full health, it should be fine to attend the session, as we give all our donors a full health examination prior to donation however if you are unsure please call Pet Blood Bank to confirm.
Depending on what the eye drops are for, your dog may still be able to donate. Please call or email us to confirm and please have a note of what the eye drops are called and how long your dog has been using them prior to contacting us.
It is important for both the donor and recipient that your dog is healthy on the day of donation, therefore if your dog has been sick or had diarrhoea on the day of the donation, we would advise you not to bring them to give blood that day.
If your dog is not prescribed any medication for the arthritis and he / she would not find lying on the table uncomfortable then please continue to bring them along to the sessions. We monitor our donor welfare very closely and if our team were concerned that your dog was in any discomfort during the donation we would discuss retirement with you.
Your dog will be fine after approximately 24 hours but the actual volume of blood can take around two months to be replaced.
We do not allow dogs from abroad to become blood donors as there are a number of blood borne diseases in dogs which are present in other countries but not yet prevalent in the UK. Therefore, we hope you can appreciate that we do not want to risk transferring any disease to our recipients. To test every dog for blood borne diseases would be cost prohibitive for the charity, therefore, our policy is to only allow dogs that have not travelled outside UK and Eire or have not been imported to become blood donors. This policy ensures we comply with our government license.
We understand that as a dog owner it is disappointing to not be able to register your dog as a donor but you can help us in other ways - spreading the word, fundraising and volunteering to name but a few.
Pet Blood Bank UK Canine Vaccination Policy and Titre Testing Advice
Pet Blood Bank UK has a vaccine policy that echoes the World Small Animal Veterinary Association guidelines. We have this policy in place to ensure our blood products are of the highest quality as they are used to treat very sick dogs including those that may be suffering from the diseases we vaccinate against.
We do not in any way dictate to owners the decisions they make concerning vaccination and refer them to their own vet for guidance. However, only dogs that comply with our policy can become donors for PBB.
Dogs must have received a full puppy vaccination course and a booster vaccination a year later, thereafter dogs can be vaccinated every 3-4 years with a core vaccine to Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Parvovirus (whether it is 3 or 4 years is dependent on the vaccine used and the manufacturers guidelines which your veterinary surgeon can advise on).
PBB recommends yearly vaccination for leptospirosis for any dog that could come into contact with rat urine, this is the main source of Leptospirosis in the UK. Dogs that are deemed low risk for Leptospirosis, on discussion with a veterinary surgeon can follow vaccination to the core diseases mentioned above.
What if you choose not to vaccinate your dog
PBB understand that not all owners wish to vaccinate their dogs which is why we accept annual titres performed by a validated external laboratory.
We require annual titres tests for the core diseases that are vaccinated against in the UK -Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Parvovirus. We also require that you and your veterinary surgeon carry out a risk assessment for Leptospirosis as immunity to Leptospirosis cannot be assessed by titre testing.
Titre testing should be repeated annually as we know each dog’s immune system responds in an individual way given that immunity is variable to each disease and in each dog.
When dogs are titre tested, they can follow an individual vaccination programme according to their annual results.
PBB asks that a copy of your dog’s titre results and the risk assessment be sent to us to allow our veterinary surgeons to review the results prior to attending a blood collection session.
PBB consider this policy necessary to safeguard the welfare of our donors and the dogs that receive the blood donated.
Safeguarding our donor’s health and welfare is central to our ethos. Our licence requires a comprehensive vaccination policy, as our donated units of blood are usually used on critically ill patients.
Our blood units can also be used to treat dogs who are ill due to contracting diseases that can be successfully vaccinated against. We advocate individual preventative healthcare hand in hand with your own veterinary surgeon.
We use the WSAVA guidelines as the basis for our vaccination policy and are more than happy to accept annual titres for vaccination.
All dogs must be over 25kg to donate. This is a criteria we have set with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate as part of our continued commitment to donor welfare. However, we would love if you would be able to help us spread the word amongst other large dog owners!
Donor Welfare is always our first priority when considering blood donation. Therefore we have made the decision to exclude a small number of specific dog breeds from the PBB donation programme.
English Bulldogs despite their lovely natures - due to their body shape and brachycephalic skull are not able to comfortably be restrained on their side and retain optimum oxygenation during the donation process.
Chow Chows have pigmented mucous membranes. This does not allow for assessment of their mucous membrane colour around donation - which is a key part of our assessment.
Dogs that are registered under the "dangerous dogs act"
Although we are more than aware that breed specific legislation is not in any way an assessment of an individual dog - those of the below breeds or their crosses - due to their requirement to be muzzled in public (and therefore around the process of donation) are excluded as donors:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasileiro
Donor and recipient safety is our top priority. Unlike in Human medicine there is still a lot of research being done on identifying the many canine blood types and their significance.
Any dog that has received a transfusion may have developed antibodies in their blood that could cause a serious reaction if their blood was donated and transfused into a patient in the future. (N.B this does NOT cause problems in the dog that has received the transfusion unless they need to receive further transfusion)
Although it would be lovely for healthy dogs that had previously been transfused to give back to others – for the safety of dogs receiving transfusions we do not allow dogs that have previously been transfused to donate.
We fully appreciate that many owners whose dogs have received a blood transfusion want to give something back to the charity so there are lots of other ways they can get involved. By sharing their story to raise awareness of the need for canine blood donations, encouraging their friends to put their dogs forward to donate, volunteering at one of our many collection sessions or fundraising for the charity are all vital roles they can play.
Pet Blood Bank UK supplies blood to the veterinary profession at cost price i.e. to cover the costs of obtaining the blood through canine donations, processing and storage. As a charity, we recommend that the veterinary practices we supply blood to do not mark up the cost of blood in the cost of treatment which is charged to their clients. Obviously there will be separate charge for the diagnostics and clinical services associated with administering a blood transfusion, which will differ from practice to practice. Any surplus which the charity may make in the future will be reinvested in the charity to further our remit in the areas of animal welfare and education.
Unfortunately dogs do not share the same blood group. However they are different to humans (and cats) in that if they only ever receive 1 transfusion in their life even if it is not the same type, in very simple terms any dog can donate to any dog.
However, the real truth is that it is far more complicated than that.
What we know and want to educate people about is that one blood type is very important with respect to any transfusion. That is the DOG ERYTHROCYTE ANTIGEN (DEA) 1 group and just to confuse the subject there are 2, 3, 4,5,6,7 and 8 groups too! DEA 1 blood group is always relevant (and apart from in absolute emergencies) a donor or recipient dogs DEA 1 group blood type should be known.
In cases of first transfusion, the transfusion can be made safer and the effects may last longer and any subsequent transfusions are far more likely to be successful. This applies to any time in that dog’s life - so think about a puppy who is badly injured at 12 weeks old - who then needs a further transfusion as he gets ill at 12 years old.
If the DEA 1 group is not known, the consequences can be fatal. PBB is always looking out for the wellbeing of all dogs and this is a long term commitment so we want to make sure that dog owners and vets out there know as much as possible on this subject.
Yes, all dogs in the UK have access to the blood as all veterinary surgeons are able to purchase blood from Pet Blood Bank UK.
Just like people, sick and injured animals frequently need blood transfusions. In many cases, blood transfusions can save a pet's life. Blood is used for many purposes including cases involving trauma, surgery and disease. Owners should take their dogs to donate so that their blood will help other dogs in need. A single donation can help as many as four dogs.
We hope to be able to include other pets, such as cats, in the blood bank scheme in the future.