A waggy-tailed golden retriever named Reno attended the program launch with 11-year-old Cara Benson. About half a dozen other dogs were there too. Benson’s dad works at UC Davis and she says at first she wasn’t sure about her family dog being stuck with a needle.
Benson: “Um, well when my dad said they might be taking blood for five to ten minutes I just said, uh ‘not my dog.’”
But Benson changed her mind when she found out it was painless and the dogs get a biscuit after it’s all over.
Benson: “If my dog donates then I know that my dog can possibly save a dog's life.”
Until now the veterinary hospital only had a small canine blood donation program. UC Davis officials say it didn’t generate enough blood to treat injuries, chronic health problems or do procedures like heart surgery. They say the new approach will screen more than 1,000 dogs per year and follows a national trend to find more donors.
Owens: “What we’re hoping to do is reach out to the community, have people embrace what we’re doing and know that at the end of the day the dog that was hit by a car or had an unexpected blood loss is able to walk home. ”
That’s medical director Dr. Sean Owens. He says the dog blood bank is similar to a human blood bank. It’s dependent on hundreds of pet owners bringing in their dogs to donate. Owens says the hospital is also looking for other animals.
Owens: “We’re recruiting donors for alpacas and llamas; we’ve got some horse owners that want their horses to be donors. We have quite a herd of cattle, sheep and goats here so we don’t need those.”
But, Owens says cats aren’t in the mix yet because of risk for heart complications.
Find out more about the dog blood donor bank at the UC Davis veterinary hospital by calling (530) 752-1393 ext. 421.