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Common Questions

Below are the most commonly asked questions and answers. For any further questions, please call the hospital at 603-821-7222.

Q: Does donating blood hurt my cat or dog?

A:  No, the pain is minimal. Like a human donation, this feels like a quick pinch to your pet and is over in seconds. It is no different than if your pet received a vaccination or routine blood testing.  Your pet’s comfort is very important to us; additional steps can be taken to further aid in their comfort. Please see “All About the Donation Process.”

Q: What if my dog is overly anxious before his/her donation?

A: We give your dog a temperament exam before we schedule them to give blood and as a result, we are normally able to determine whether your dog will be too nervous to donate.  However, even with this test, there are times when a dog will be nervous on donation day.  In this instance, we can give them a mild sedation for their piece of mind or we can simply we-schedule their donation for another day.  We take your pet’s comfort very seriously and will not draw blood if your dog does not have the right temperament for a donation.

Q: How are pet blood types cross-matched for pet blood transfusions?

A: Dogs like humans, have blood groups and can be blood typed. Ideally, donor and recipient should be type matched. As well as typing donor and recipient, cross-matches can be performed to confirm compatibility, and are recommended where the recipient has had a previous transfusion.

This test involves incubating donor and recipient serum and red blood cells and looking for a reaction outside of the body that indicates an increased risk of a reaction inside the body if the transfusion is given.

Q: What is an ideal blood donor?

A: An ideal blood donor is a friendly, healthy, clinically normal animal that is not pregnant or has not produced a litter (if a female and not spayed). Donors should be vaccinated (although not within 10-14 days before donation) and free of infections and parasites, especially blood borne disease.

Q: How much blood is taken?

A: One unit for a canine donor requires 400-450 mls of blood.  One unit for a feline donor usually requires 50-60 mls of blood.

Q: Why is there a weight requirement for canine and feline blood donors?

A: There is a weight requirement for canine and feline blood donors because, just like in human donations, blood volume must be in proportion to weight.

Q: How often can my pet give blood?

A: Repeated blood donations over a relatively short period of time can lead to anemia, and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. For this reason, after a donation is made and recorded on our database, the donor will be blocked from being called via the registry for two to three months.