Animals help animals: When dogs and cats donate blood

Dogs and cats can also donate blood to save their peers in a transfusion in an emergency. The idea that animals can help other animals in this way came to Germany from the United States in the mid-1990s.


The first blood bank for dogs with a donor card was created in 1996 at the Free University of Berlin, reports the "Berliner Morgenpost" about the still relatively unknown aid measure for dogs and cats in Germany. Meanwhile, the number of public and private institutions where dogs and cats can donate blood is increasing. While initially primarily dogs were represented in the donor library, more and more cats are now being added: "Every year we have about 300 blood samples from dogs and 80 from cats," Professor Barbara Kohn from the FU Berlin told the daily newspaper.

Donate blood: How dogs and cats can help their peers

If dogs or cats are involved in an accident or if red blood cells are destroyed as a result of an illness, pets also need a blood transfusion as soon as possible. Because synthetic blood donations are currently unavailable, veterinary clinics and doctors rely on blood donations from other pets. If you want to help other animals with your dog or cat, some conditions must be met. For example, dogs should not be older than 10 years and weigh at least 20 kilos. A blood sample should be taken at most four times a year. Cats, on the other hand, are only allowed to donate blood twice a year and should weigh at least four kilos. Of course, all animals have to be healthy.

Incidentally, the dog breed is not important in a transfusion. A Chihuahua can usually be saved with the blood of a Saint Bernard, or a Burmese cat can donate blood to a Siamese cat. In the first transfusion, dogs don't even have to match blood types. Later, according to veterinarian Kali Lazzerini, the DEA 1.1 blood group is best suited, reports the "Berliner Morgenpost". In cats, on the other hand, the blood groups are not easy to mix. To draw blood from dogs and cats, a little fur is first shaved off, the skin is disinfected and then blood is drawn with a cannula.

If you want to register your pet as a blood donor, the best thing to do is to contact the "White Paws" association based in Saxony-Anhalt. This has a nationwide database of donor animals. The denser the donor network, the greater the chance that your pet will quickly find help in the event of an emergency.

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