Published: 11 Jun 2020 | Last Updated: 12 Jun 2020 14:00:29

In celebration of World Blood Donor Day, the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is recognising animal superheroes whose blood donations have led to over 800 successful transfusions in the past year alone.

From treating a pet after a road traffic accident through to managing a critical illness, these blood transfusions play a crucial role in the treatment and recovery of affected animals. 

The RVC created its blood donor programme in 2005 in response to high levels of demand. These donations are particularly important given the variety of treatments offered at the RVC, including complex and pioneering surgery, emergency and critical care and cancer treatments. 

Fidget the cat
RVC Feline Blood Donor of the Year - "Fidget"

In the past year, the RVC has received 67 feline donations and 299 canine donations, allowing the team to undertake a total of 814 transfusions. 

In recognition of these life-saving donations, each year the RVC Animal Care Trust charity gives an award to two exemplary donors – one cat and one dog.

This year, the two Donors of the Year awards have gone to Fidget Candy, a cat who has donated 17 times, and Oscar Warner, a dog who has donated ten times.

Fidget joined the programme in 2014, when she was a one year old and her 17 donations since then have made her the most prolific feline donor on the programme so far. Ringo, Fidget’s brother, also deserves recognition, with the duo’s blood donations helping save another cat’s life with a rare blood type who urgently needed a transfusion. 

Sarah Candy, Fidget’s owner, said: “We are so proud of Fidget and the many poorly pets she has saved during her time with the RVC. Donating blood seems to be just second nature to her. She is so calm and collected while it’s happening, and she clearly loves seeing the team at the RVC.”

The winner in the canine category, Oscar, also joined the programme in 2014. Oscar is a particularly special donor because he is the most prolific serum blood donor which the programme has ever seen. Serum is a vital element when treating injuries to the transparent front of the eye, scientifically known as the cornea. 

Oscar the dog
RVC Canine Blood Donor of the Year - "Oscar"

Paul Warner, Oscar’s owner, said: “We have had several one of our dogs on the Blood Donor team. Oscar is so comfortable there and while most of our dogs lie down and relax during their donations, he always sits up – it must be because he gets more cuddles from the nurses that way!

“We are constantly telling our friends to sign up to the programme, particularly those who have smaller dogs and may not realise they can still help through the serum donation. It’s such a wonderful way to support the amazing work they do, saving the lives of so many beloved pets throughout the year.”

Charlotte Russo, Senior Transfusion Medicine Nurse at the RVC, said: “Oscar is a gorgeous boy that we have fondly nicknamed ‘The Cloud’ due to his fluffy white hair. He is a brilliant donor and a much-loved part of our Blood Donor Team. Serum donation is vital to the hospital and truly changes the lives of the pets who receive it.

“The RVC’s Transfusion Medicine Service is a vital part of the QMH enabling the hospital to access blood products at any time of day and supporting them when performing advanced medical and surgical procedures. Whether it’s a high-risk heart operation, a road traffic accident or the body’s own immune system attacking itself we aim to provide the blood products that all of these patients need. 

“I have worked as a veterinary nurse for 15 years and the last 6 years of that has been at the RVC, this is by far the most rewarding job I have ever had. I love all of our blood donors and have built great relationships with all the fabulous owners too and I am always so proud of the impact their blood donation has on another animal.”

Professor Dan Chan, Professor of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine at the RVC, said: “The RVC’s Blood Donor Programme is an incredibly valuable part of what we do at the RVC Small Animal Hospital. Over the last year alone, over 800 animals have been saved at the QMHA through blood donations, and this number is increasing year on year.

“On World Blood Donor Day, we would like to thank all our donors and encourage any owners who are thinking about it to take up the opportunity. Donations are vital in helping us do our part in keeping animals healthy and happy for as long as possible.”

The RVC is always looking for new donors so if you think your dog or cat might be suitable please check the criteria online at www.rvc.uk.com/pet-blood-donors or contact the team directly at blooddonor@rvc.ac.uk or by telephone on 01707 666511. 


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About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a Member Institution of the University of London. It was the first in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS and AVBC.
  • The RVC is the top veterinary school in the UK and Europe, and ranked as the world’s second highest veterinary school in the QS World University Rankings by subject, 2020.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
  • In 2017, the RVC received a Gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – the highest rating a university can receive.
  • A research led institution with 79% of its research rated as internationally excellent or world class in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • The RVC provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals and first opinion practices in London and Hertfordshire.

 

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