There is a worrying deficiency in dog blood donations across the UK at the moment, according to the Pets Blood Bank UK (PBBUK), a BBC News article reported.
Although the problem is nationwide, it is having a particular impact on Wales where due to the sparse geography vets need to know where they can secure blood locally in a sudden emergency.
Part of the problem, PBBUK explained, is that many pet owners do not realise that animal blood donations are needed, and this realisation typically only materialises when they discover their own dog requires blood.
As a result, vets often have just a couple days worth of blood supplies before they risk running out.
“We're just trying to make all owners and vets aware of the issue whether they go on a local register or donate through PBBUK, or indeed both,” Joanne Patterson, a spokesperson for the organisation, told the BBC.
PBBUK itself stockpiles blood and other specialised products and it is the only company in the country that does it.
"The advantage of PBBUK is that we have the laboratory facilities to produce not just blood, but also a whole range of derivatives such as plasma for burns or poisoning, white blood cells for immunological problems, and clotting agents for extensive bleeding," she continued.
However, for those in Wales that are far from its base, it may not be feasible to secure the blood in an emergency and that’s why local lists of dog owners who are prepared to have their pooch donate blood is advisable.
The canine may never get called upon, but in the event that it does, it could save another dog’s life.
"Owners need to be aware of the need for volunteers, and vets - especially those who're more than an hour away from urban centres - need to have an emergency plan for what they'd do if they were to receive a major trauma requiring more than one transfusion,” Mike Jessop, a vet in Merthyr Tydfil, said to the BBC.
The risks of a dog donating blood are very small, and the vet will check the animal to make sure it is fit for the procedure to prevent any complications. An ideal dog is friendly and healthy, not pregnant, vaccinated and free from any infections of parasites.
Blood can be taken when the dog is not sedated if it is calm enough, but the mutt can be anaesthetised if necessary.
Written by: Hannah