As many of our Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) community will know, the commercial blood bank at the University of Melbourne closed earlier this year.
The commercial facility was a colony based blood bank with quite a number of donor greyhounds living on site. Its closure saw GAP step in to assist with testing and re-homing close to 60 greyhounds that had been living as donors at the Werribee facility at quite short notice – another fabulous success story that saw GAP staff go above and beyond to find these animals loving family homes.
The closure of the blood bank has meant that veterinary clinics and emergency centres across the country have had to find another source of blood and blood products to meet the demands of sick and injured animals. One of these facilities is the Centre for Animal Referral and Emergency (CARE) located in Collingwood.
CARE is both a veterinary specialist hospital, seeing cases referred to them from regular veterinarians, as well as a 24-hour animal emergency centre, open 7 days-a-week, including public holidays.
Dr. Karen Brenner, a specialist in Internal Medicine explains, “Although CARE is a relatively new facility, having been open now for just over 18 months, it is becoming increasing busy both during the day, and through the night and weekends.”
“We are pleased to offer our customers the very best in referral medicine, as well as being on standby at all hours for those accidents and emergencies with highly qualified staff manning the facility day and night.”
“Both our surgery patients and emergency patients sometimes require a blood transfusion, and in the past we relied on purchasing products from the Werribee Blood Bank to meet the demand.”
Dr. Brenner is hoping to start a community based volunteer donor program to supply CARE with vital blood products, and is hoping that some members of the GAP community may like to join her pilot donor program.
“We only accept volunteer blood donors for our program because we strongly believe that saving the life of one dog should not occur at the expense or well-being of another,” said Dr Brenner.
“Our pilot program is looking for a small team of donor dogs to donate 3-4 times a year, as well as recruiting a wider base of donors that we can call on at relatively short notice when needed.”
“Greyhounds make fabulous donors due to their size, naturally high red cell count, and low body fat which makes collecting blood much simpler. Due to their race and training history, most greyhounds are used to being handled and positioned for treatments, and their wonderful calm natures mean that they will often simply lie there and soak up the pats and cuddles whilst the blood collection is conducted.”
“The dogs we are looking for to start our pilot program need to be 1-6 years of age, in good health and must weigh at least 25kg. They must be up to date with their vaccinations, and must not have received any blood products in the past.”
“Ideally, all canine participants should be happy to lie on their side for 10-15 minutes while a unit of blood is collected, without the use of sedation, so a friendly, easy going nature is required.”
“Dogs are eligible to participate in the blood donor program for 2-3 years and a donation from each dog, every 4 months is our aim,’ said Dr Brenner.
Donating is not without its perks! Dr Brenner tells us that all of the donors that enter her pilot program will receive an initial physical examination along with a full blood test free of charge.
Blood donors are eligible to receive blood transfusions at the Centre for Animal Referral and Emergency at a reduced fee, should the need ever arise. They also receive a complimentary 3kg bag of dog food at each donation, and just like human blood donors, it feels great to save a life!
If you think your greyhound might be suited to donating blood, and you have the time to commit to spending an hour or so 3-4 times a year at the CARE facility for the donation to take place, then please contact Dr. Brenner for more information on (03) 9417 6417.