A Look At Blood Donations For Dogs And Cats

Jan 22, 2020

January is National Blood Donor Month and that has some veterinarians in Florida asking pet owners to consider that a number of patients in need of blood are of the four-legged variety.

Vets say dogs and cats require blood transfusions for many of the same reasons that humans do.

But animal blood-bank supplies are so low, treating the most gravely sick or injured pets can be a challenge.

In Florida, the Blue Pearl chain of pet hospitals has blood bank donor locations in Tampa and Sarasota.

"Dogs and cats require blood transfusions for many of the same reasons humans do: illness, injury, or surgery,” said Dee Ann Dugger, Senior Clinician, Head of Emergency Service, Blood Bank Director at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Tampa. “However, with only a handful of banks nationally, getting safe blood to a pet who is in immediate need is a challenge. Right now, we, as a veterinary community, are not producing enough blood for veterinarians around the country. We simply need more donors.”

To be a blood donor, a cat must - among other things - weigh more than 10 pounds, live indoors and be between 2- and 7-years-old. Female cats who’ve had kittens aren’t allowed to give blood.

Dogs must be younger than 7, have had all their shots and weigh more than 50 pounds.

There are three feline-blood types and six canine blood types. 

Greyhounds are considered universal donors. Their blood can be given to any dog.

Additional Information: FAQ and list of pet blood donation centers

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.