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Veterinary Forum April 2008 (Vol 25, No 4)

Dog blood donor program launched

    DAVIS, Calif. — The University of California, Davis, has launched a new community-based canine blood donor program in the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

    About 1,200 pet dogs and canine law enforcement officers will be screened during the year to develop a group of 200 to 400 regular donors. Although dogs can donate blood monthly, these donors will most likely come in two to three times a year.

    "Each year, the teaching hospital provides 200 to 300 transfusions for dogs to treat conditions ranging from surgical complications to kidney failure," said Sean Owens, DVM, DACVP, medical director of the UC Davis blood bank and head of the veterinary hospital's transfusion medicine section. "This donor program will allow us to develop a large and reliable source of blood products for patients without maintaining a colony of donor dogs at the hospital."

    The hospital had previously obtained its canine blood for transfusions from a group of about 30 donor dogs that lived at the hospital for a few years before being adopted out.

    Donor dogs for the new program must be between 1 and 8 years of age, weigh at least 55 lb and have never been pregnant or had puppies. The dogs and their owners must live within 100 miles of the school.

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