Saturday, 9 July 2016

PBB - Pet Blood Bank

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to go along to work with my Auntie when there was a dog blood donation taking place. Before my Auntie told me about it, I’d never really thought of dogs donating blood, and I don’t think many people realise that dogs need blood transfusions too.
The bank for the UK is the PBB (Pet Blood Bank) and they basically go all over the country to different donor sessions to collect blood which is then dispatched to the veterinary practices that require blood. They are based in Loughborough where there is an incredibly hard working team working to make sure that all of the blood gets transported to the right place in the right time.
The problem is, although so many dogs donate, this is still not enough in comparison to what is needed. There is a high demand across the country for blood to use on dogs and stock is used very quickly making it challenging to keep up with the increasing demands. Pet Blood Bank also only collect to a level they will use – so blood donations are never wasted. 
I don’t have a dog myself and I never had, but I have grown up with dogs around me in the family and they really are man’s best friend. I can’t imagine my life without the two dogs my Auntie has, they’re a member of the family and that goes for all families with dogs. They are just another member of the family and that is why we do all we can to protect them and give them an enjoyable life.
The amount of dogs lives that have been saved from the amazing dogs that regularly donate is more than you would imagine. 450ml of blood is taken in each donation. This can then be packed into red blood cells and plasma which can go to save up to 4 small dogs.
I got to watch about a dozen dogs donate and it was so interesting to watch but it was also really enjoyable to see the dogs before and after their donation. They seemed to be so proud of themselves after their donation and even before they got up on the table how confident and comfortable they were being lifted and placed on the table. They all sat so still as well and just let the phlebotomist do what they needed to do.
Once the dogs have finished donating, they get some food and water and get to pick a toy out of a huge box. There are also presents for dogs after they have completed a certain number of donations and then also when they retire. The dogs also get their bandana tied around their neck and have their photo taken to show the world they are saving lives.
There are certain criteria that your dog has to meet for them to be eligible to donate blood to ensure their safety and to make sure that the blood they donate is going to be useful. They must:
·         Be fit and healthy
·         Be between 1 and 8 years old
·         Weigh more than 25kg
·         Have a good temperament
·         Have never travelled abroad
·         Vaccinated
·         Not on any medication
The donation process involves two steps:
·         Health and suitability check by a fully qualified vet where they will generally check the dog’s health, clip and clean a small section and also microchip the dog if they have not already been microchipped.
·         The donation
This normally doesn’t take much longer than 20 minutes but extra time may be needed depending on how each dog donating on the day handles the process. Overall though, it is a very easy and virtually painless process for the dogs as most don’t even really know they are donating.
The experience I had was very rewarding as I got to see the dogs go through the whole process and it was genuinely really enjoyable to see so many people and their dogs helping other families by donating. If you have a dog, you will know how much they mean to you and how important they are to your life. If anything were to happen to them, you would hope that there was enough supply that would be able to make them better. Without enough donations, veterinary practices do struggle to keep up with the demand.
If you have a dog that meets the criteria above and has never donated, I highly suggest thinking more about it and whether it is an option for you. Your dog could prevent up to 4 families from losing their best friend and family member. There is so much more information on the PBB website about how you can register your dog and when and where your nearest donation services are. There is also a section on the website where you can read the stories of many dogs who have donated or received a donation so you can see where the blood goes.
I know there will be people who read this and didn’t even know dogs could donate blood, I didn’t either but now if I had a dog that was suitable to donate, I know I wouldn’t hesitate to get them to donate. It’s the same concept as humans donating, we do it to save other people’s lives, our dogs need saving too.
If you don’t have a dog at all, or you do but they don’t meet the criteria, you can still help. The PBB has volunteering opportunities at different stages in the donation process which you can easily get involved in through the website. Or, there is also information on the website about how you can do some fundraising to help out too.
There are so many ways to get involved whether you have a dog or not. Please do your best to either help out yourself, or if you can’t help, share this article on so others can see it who might be able to help.
I have left links below for you to find out more information about how you can get involved and read stories about the dogs who donate and the dogs who have survived because of a donation.

Here are the two dogs in my life just for a little bit of cuteness...

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