Blood Donor Programme

Blood Donor Programme

The RVC treats many critically ill cats and dogs and our pioneering blood donor programme helps keep them alive. Blood donated by each animal is split into different components so that it can help several patients.

Blood donations can be used in a variety of ways such as in open-heart surgery or emergency and critical care, and in everything from spinal surgery to cancer treatment.

If you are interested in your cat or dog becoming a donor please contact us at blooddonor@rvc.ac.uk

Horses: RVC Equine also use blood donations but the horses are kept on site permanently due to the nature of horse blood transfusions.  For more information - please contact equinereception@rvc.ac.uk

Pet blood donations explained

DOG BLOOD DONORS

Dog donor requirements:

  • Aged between one and eight years old
  • Weigh more than 15kg
  • Have not received a blood transfusion
  • Be healthy and not on medication
  • Have yearly vaccinations and regular worming and flea treatment
  • Be easy to handle
  • Have not travelled abroad

What happens when my dog donates blood?

They are put through a rigorous screening process to ensure they are comfortable with the process of donating blood and are healthy enough to do so. 

A small amount of fur is clipped from the neck to let us clean the area and see the vein clearly. Local anaesthetic cream is used to minimise sensation. They give blood in exactly the same way as humans do.

How long does it take?

On average, a dog blood donation takes 5-7 mins and the whole appointment approximately 45 mins.

CAT BLOOD DONORS

Feline donors need to be

  • Aged between one and ten years 
  • Weigh over 3.5kg
  • Have not received a blood transfusion
  • Be healthy and not on medication
  • Be up to date with vaccinations
  • Be easy to handle
  • Not have travelled abroad

What happens when my cat donates blood?

They will receive a free health and temperament check including blood tests and an ultrasound of their heart to check their suitability to donate. A small area of fur will be clipped to enable the area to be cleaned and to be able to access the vein. Local anaesthetic is used to minimise sensation. Cats give blood in exactly the same way as humans do.

How long does it take?

On average, a cat blood donation takes 10-15 minutes and the whole process takes approximately 4 hours. The reason that cats stay with us longer is so that cats (who can be fussy drinkers!) receive enough fluids to ensure they are adequately hydrated before they return home. We do allow owners to drop off/collect. 

To show our thanks to our super heroes, they are given:

  • Free vet health check at each donation
  • Free annual blood test
  • Free meal at each donation
  • Free bag of premium food at every donation
  • Hero certificate after their first donation
  • Cats only: Free heart scan and FeLV/FIV tests

All our donors receive plenty of affection and treats!

All our animal blood donors received a health check prior to donation

cat blood donor after pet blood donation

Our pioneering blood donation service has helped save many pets' lives

Kathleen Foxley - Pet owner

    Open quoteMy dog, Juice, developed cancer in her elbow and needed an amputation followed by chemotherapy. Juice has amazed everybody with her recovery and is enjoying an excellent quality of life. I cannot express how grateful I am for the excellent care Juice received.close quote

For pet owners:

General enquiries

Tel: +44 (0)1707 666399 (select option 4)

Out-of-Hours Emergency

Tel: +44 (0) 1707 666399 (select option 1)