The charity Pet Blood Bank UK is asking veterinary receptionists to help them raise awareness of their vital work by spreading the word among dog owners.
Founded in 2007, Pet Blood Bank UK is the only charity that provides a nationwide blood service for all vet practices across the UK. Day and night, their blood products are available to help vets save lives. It runs similarly to the human blood service with pet owners kindly bringing their much loved companions along to donate blood at one of their regular blood donation sessions. This blood is then processed and stored, ready to be sent out to vets when they need it for an unwell patient.
How can you help?
Pet Blood Bank believes veterinary receptionists are in an excellent position to be able to raise awareness of their lifesaving work. You have a unique opportunity being perfectly placed at the forefront of life within your veterinary practice to chat to clients and let them know about Pet Blood Bank and how they and their dog could help to save lives.
What kind of dogs are needed?
To be a blood donor, a dog needs to be of a larger breed and to be fit and healthy. As dogs come in for routine treatments and vaccinations, you can engage owners in a conversation about Pet Blood Bank and let them know that their dog could help. Another key indicator of if a dog will make a good blood donor is how they behave at the vets. If they love meeting new people, are confident and happy, and enjoy all the fuss and attention from staff while in practice then they are likely to be an ideal blood donor. As a veterinary receptionist, you are in a fabulous position to identify these dogs and talk to owners about Pet Blood Bank and how they can get involved.
Other criteria dogs need to meet to become blood donors include:
- Being between one and eight years old
- Weighing over 25kg
- Have never travelled outside of the UK and Ireland
- Not taking any medication
Currently, for transfusion purposes, dog blood is identified as either positive or negative. There is significant demand for both blood types, but negative blood is always needed most. That is because negative blood can be given to any dog in an emergency but only around 30% of dogs have this type. Pet Blood Bank manages its service very carefully by blood type and there are certain breeds of dog they know are more likely to have this type. These are the breeds they especially need help to reach and include:
- Airedale Terrier
- American Bulldog
- Border Collie
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- English Bull Terrier
- Flat Coated Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Old English Sheepdog
Pet Blood Bank holds donation sessions across the UK and new sessions are frequently being added. You can see if there is a session running near to your practice by using the Pet Blood Bank session locator. If there is a session near you, you can signpost owners with suitable dogs to this. If not, it’s still valuable to let clients know about the charity as there are other ways to help support them, particularly by fundraising. Fundraising allows the costs of blood products to be kept as low as possible and enables the Pet Blood Bank to provide blood products free to veterinary charities, among other things.
What happens at a donation session?
When a dog comes along to a donation session, the Pet Blood Bank team showers them with fuss, treats, and attention. First, a vet will carry out a health check, consisting of a physical examination and some blood work, to ensure the dog is fit and healthy to donate that day. If approved, the dog can then go on to see the donation team and lie having a tummy tickle whilst donating approximately 450ml of blood, which takes around 5-7 minutes. All dogs who attend receive a goody bag and a toy to take home. Donors also have their photographs taken for the Pet Blood Bank Facebook page (if any dogs from your practice attend, you can then share these onto your own practice’s page!).
To see for yourself what happens at a donation session, have a watch of the video on Pet Blood Bank’s website here.
Find out more and get involved
Pet Blood Bank can provide your practice with information for your reception team, leaflets to give out to owners, and even collection boxes for your reception desks if you would like to help even more by collecting spare change. Their training department is also happy to provide support if you would like additional training for your reception team, or support with hosting a client information call/evening for the owners of potential new dog donors.
By supporting Pet Blood Bank, you really can become their eyes and ears by helping to identify suitable donors and raising awareness with dog owners. Your support is so valuable and will help to save more lives.
To find out more information about Pet Blood Bank UK, please visit their website where you can download a veterinary receptionists support pack and request further resources for your practice.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about how you can help to save lives by supporting Pet Blood Bank. It means so much to us to have you on board and we know that with your help, we will be able to register and collect blood from lots more dogs across the UK and help to save even more lives with our service. Thank you.