The RVC’s pioneering blood donor programme provides hundreds of vital blood transfusions every year helping to save the lives of critically ill or injured cats and dogs.

This service is only possible because of our wonderful donor dogs and cats that come in throughout the year with their owners to donate blood for use in the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals.

Our priority is the donor’s comfort and wellbeing and so they are carefully screened before enrolment to ensure they are comfortable with the process of donating blood and are healthy enough to do so. We have a specific blood donor room that provides a calm and relaxed environment for our wonderful blood donors and three dedicated nurses so that they see a familiar face each time.

Every donation is split into different components (see Component Therapy) so that one donation can go towards helping multiple patients.

The donated blood can then be used to help our patients in a variety of ways such as in open-heart surgery or in the emergency and critical care department, treating immune mediated diseases and in the treatment of cancer. Donated blood from our smaller canine donors is used to produce serum eye drops for our ophthalmic patients that are suffering with corneal injuries e.g. ulcerations or cat scratches. 

Can your pet help?

Dogs

  • Aged between one and eight years old
  • Weigh more than 15kg
  • Not received a blood transfusion themselves
  • Be healthy and not on medication
  • Have yearly vaccinations and regular worming and flea treatment
  • Comfortable and relaxed with people
  • Have not travelled abroad

What’s involved?

A small amount of fur is clipped from the neck to let us clean the area and see the vein clearly. We apply a local anaesthetic cream to minimise sensation and then they give blood in exactly the same way as humans do. On average, a dog blood donation takes 5-7 minutes and the whole appointment approximately 45 minutes.

Cats

  • Aged between one and ten years 
  • Weigh over 3.5kg
  • Not received a blood transfusion themselves
  • Be healthy and not on medication
  • Be up to date with vaccinations and flea treatment
  • Comfortable and relaxed with people
  • Not have travelled abroad

What’s involved?

A small area of fur will be clipped from their leg and neck to enable the area to be cleaned and to be able to access the vein. We apply a local anaesthetic cream to minimise sensation. On average, a cat blood donation takes 10-15 minutes and the whole process takes approximately four hours. The reason that cats stay with us longer is so that cats (who can be fussy drinkers!) receive enough fluids via intravenous fluid therapy to ensure they are adequately hydrated before they return home. Owners can drop them off with us and collect later.

Thank you!

To show our appreciation to our heroes, they are given:

  • Free vet health check at every donation
  • Free annual blood tests
  • Delicious meal at every donation
  • Free bag of premium food at every donation
  • RVC Blood Donor bandana with collectable badges
  • Christmas present every year
  • Dogs only: Blood Donor tag for their collar
  • Cats Only: Free heart scan and FeLV/FIV tests
  • Cats only: Blood Donor tag for their cat carrier

We are always looking to welcome new donors to the team so if you think your cat or dog would make a great donor and are interested in them joining the blood donor programme please complete the enquiry form below and a nurse from the blood donor team will be in touch shortly. Alternatively you can call 01707 666511 or email blooddonor@rvc.ac.uk.

 

 

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