City News

Sydney University’s Dog Blood Bank

BY LEXY AKILLAS

The University of Sydney’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital has established a blood bank specifically for ‘man’s best friend’, which will help save the lives of many dogs.

The recently established program is looking for Sydney pooches to lend a paw and become a blood donor at the Camperdown location.

Dr Christine Griebsch, Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine, told City Hub that there had been a “good response” so far.

“We have blood donors coming in already, so I am confident that the program will run very well,” she said.

The idea for a Sydney blood bank came in response to the closure of the main supplier at the University of Melbourne.

When asked about plans to become a interstate blood supplier, like the University of Melbourne was, Dr Griebsch explained that it would be very tough.

“It requires a huge amount of time and much more personnel than we actually have to sell blood. Also, there are certain requirements that you have to fulfil to get a license so we are not planning to do that in the future,” she told City Hub.

Instead, the blood bank is only open to clients of the Sydney University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, requiring dogs to be referred to the hospital before they can receive a transfusion.

The blood bank is complementary to the 24 hour emergency service already on offer at the hospital.

Dr Griebsh said that the process is simple and dogs are eligible to donate every three months, as long they pass a physical examination and blood test, are aged between one and eight years old, and weigh at least 20 kilograms.

The blood is used in surgery, to treat trauma, internal bleeding from poisoning and for dogs who suffer with diseases such as anaemia or pancreatitis.

“The need for blood varies quite significantly which is why we rely on the owners of the dogs quite a lot, and hope that some of them are available to bring the dog in spontaneously say if we have a trauma case coming in that will require a lot of blood transfusions,” Dr Griebsch said.

The procedure usually takes around 10 minutes.

Following the physical examination and a quick check of a blood sample, the donor is mildly sedated as they are required to lie very still, and a small needle is inserted into the jugular vein located on the neck, and blood is collected.

“The dogs get a lot of cuddles and a little reward afterwards,” Dr Griebsch said.

This not only includes a $100 voucher for food and consumables, but also their choice of a K9 collar or lead, which shows other pet owners that thedog is a blood donor.
If you think your dog may be an eligible donor or you know someone who would like to be involved, please contact Sydney University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital on 9351 3437.  

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