We told you recently about the growing demand for pet blood donations and the efforts many local veterinary practices are making to help. One practice, Far Country Animal Hospital in Palmer, Alaska, set up a local pet blood donation program as a major initiative for its region.

“Before we started our Canine Blood Bank Program, blood products had to be flown in from California, which sometimes meant life or death for the pet,” said Michael Whittington, a veterinarian at Far Country Animal Hospital. “During emergency situations, we’d bring in our own pets and do a spot transfusion, meaning the injured dog would be on one table and our donor dog would be on the next.”

While this worked as a last available option, the practice saw a need for an official program. To set up the program, a member of the veterinary team took the initiative and received advice from a veterinarian who had experience with blood banks in the past. With this direction, Far Country Animal Hospital was able to open its own Canine Blood Bank in 2009. 

Today, the hospital has a growing pool of pet parents who commit to bringing their pets in to donate blood every 2 or 3 months, allowing the practice to have a ready supply of blood products on hand at all times. In addition, the veterinary practice extended its hours until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and around the clock over the weekend to accommodate as many pet patients as possible.

Far Country Animal Hospital also supplies products to other practices in Alaska for a reduced fee. These practices now have the option to receive their blood products much faster than before Far County’s program started.

To be eligible to donate blood, dogs must weigh at least 50 pounds, be in fine health, have a good temperament, be up-to-date on canine rabies and distemper-parvo vaccinations and not be taking any prescribed medications or have a history of pregnancy.

In return, the charitable canines’ parents can expect rewards such as $300 worth of yearly blood testing, one unit of blood or plasma for every unit donated should their dog ever need it and a “Canine Hero” blood donor bandana for their pooch. After the first year of donations, dogs receive a “Canine Hero” ID tag, which identifies them as an official donor.

To read more about Far Country Animal Hospital and its Canine Blood Bank program, visit http://farcountrypets.com/index.php

To submit a story about a veterinary practice, email me!

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Veterinary Clinic Spotlight

When our office hosts a blood drive, I’m quick to sign up because I think donating blood can help save human lives.

But it got me thinking: What about our pets?

Just like humans who experience a trauma or major surgery, pets also require blood transfusions after a devastating accident.

The need for pet blood donations is growing more than ever, according to a recent article in USA Today. Advances in veterinary medicine and pet parents willing to do anything to save their dogs and cats are fueling the demand.

Typically, veterinary practices either rely on in-house donors or an animal blood bank. As there are only a handful of such banks in the US, many practices do not have local options, and the only way to get donations is via overnight mail.

That is why many practices, including Newton Veterinary Hospital in Newton, New Jersey, are opening their own blood bank. This way, blood products are stored onsite and are available at a moment’s notice. In the case of Newton Veterinary Hospital, it is the region’s only pet blood bank for 60 miles.

Practices rely on pet parents to bring in their furry friends to donate blood. While any dog or cat can be tested for eligibility, mild mannered animals tend to be the best donors. The process takes about 10 minutes, and the donation lasts for a month. 

Pets that regularly donate can receive special incentives, ranging from free food and veterinary services to a complimentary blood transfusion should the pet ever need it.

Talk to your local veterinary practice for pet blood donation opportunities in your area!

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

WELCOME,
PET PARENTS!

As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, a 7-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.