Doggie blood donor? Who knew!
This 11-year-old lab is a lifesaver for other dogs.
Spicket is a blood donor. Yup, you read that right — dogs can give blood. We were intrigued to learn this over here at Sheridan Brand, so we got ahold of Spicket’s owner Hanna Mudder of Mountain View Veterinary Hospital to ask some questions. What we learned was pretty dang cool.
Spicket is a legend over at Mountain View Veterinary Hospital. A couple weeks ago, Spicket donated blood for the 12th time — most dogs donate only two or three times. Unfortunately, his latest donation also marked his retirement from giving blood due to his age.
We had plenty of questions to ask Hanna about Spicket and the blood donating process. Here’s what we learned.
Q: Why did Spicket donate so many more times than most dogs that donate?
A: “We started using him as a donor because of his size, and he just became so good at it,” says Hanna. Dogs, she explained, have to be at least 50 pounds to give blood, so Spicket, being a larger dog, was an obvious candidate. Hanna noticed that Spicket became very comfortable with giving blood after the first couple of donations. “He understood what was happening and would be very calm throughout the process. He just has something inside of him.”
Q: Do dogs give blood in the same fashion as humans?
A: No. The majority of human blood donations happen at blood drives and similar events. Dogs, on the other hand, do not give blood unless it is needed at that moment. Once there is a need for a blood transfusion, then Mountain View Veterinary Hospital will find a suitable dog to give blood. Before any dog gives blood, the vets must perform a physical and run a few tests to make sure the dog’s blood work is healthy. Once the dog is ready to give, the vets will inject a mild sedative. The blood donation process takes about 15 minutes. From there the blood is taken to the dog in need and the transfusion begins. This lasts around two and a half hours with the vets checking on the receiving dog constantly throughout the entire process.
Q: Do dogs have blood types?
A: Yes. Dogs have blood types just like humans have blood types. However, dogs don’t need to have the same blood type to perform a transfusion. The catch? A dog can only receive the blood of a different “typed” dog once. If the dog needs blood again, it must receive blood of the same type as itself.
Q: When does Mountain View Veterinary Hospital do transfusions?
A: There are two reasons why a dog would need a blood transfusion: immune mediated situations and trauma situations. Immune mediated situations means the dog’s blood is attacking itself such as a dog accidently consuming rat poison. Many of the trauma situations that the hospital sees result from gunshot wounds or from dogs being hit by cars.
Q: If someone wants to have their dog donate blood, how would they go about that?
A: At this point, the only dogs that donate blood for Mountain View are dogs that belong to the employees of the veterinary hospital. If the need for blood increases, Mountain View will look into outsourcing the blood donations to the public.
Q: How much blood do the dogs donate?
A: The typical donation is anywhere between 250 grams to 500 grams.
Transfusing dog blood is simply something a lot of people never even think about. With the help of Mountain View Veterinary Hospital and brave dogs like Spicket, many dog owners have been able to prolong the lives of their beloved pets. We salute the wonderful employees of Mountain View along with their amazing dogs for doing such amazing things for dogs in need.
Now you can tell your mom you learned something new today.