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Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank Canine Donor Program FAQs

Browse Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank's catalog of frequently asked questions and learn more about what to expect on your next visit.

Visit our Facebook page to learn more about our donors and their families and for more information on on-site visits and events.

Dogs donate blood? Do they have blood types like people?

Yes, dogs have been donating blood for transfusions for decades.

While they do have their own system, it is different than ours. Dogs have more than 12 blood groups, the most important type to test for is DEA 1.1. We test to see if dogs have DEA 1.1 (universal recipients) or if they do not.

All blood is useful no matter the type. Certain breeds are more likely to have certain types, but not always.

What is the donation process like?

We take extra strides in developing trust with your pet to determine if he or she is willing to take part in learning a new trick. We will never sedate or force any dog to donate blood if they don't seem to want to participate. We make it ultimately their choice.

The first evaluation with your dog will take about 30 - 40 minutes for us to chat with you about your dog and their history. We move them through the paces of mock donation, seeing they are comfortable with massage table, clippers and being held for about 10 minutes (the actual collection only takes about 5 minutes or so). The rest of the time is taken to examine them, draw blood samples, and give them lots of positive reinforcement.

Can you use dog blood in humans or give human blood to dogs?

The short answer is no. Xenotransfusions (using blood from one species in a different species) is very rare and carries risk.

It is occasionally done when the correct type of blood can not be found. Mainly in cats.

Are the blood donations always used? Does any get wasted?

Yes! Blood is always in very short supply and high demand.

Sadly, there are cases where blood is not available. With more donors, we hope to make this less common.

What is the blood used for?

Blood is used for many types of surgeries, cancer treatments, illnesses like anemia, heat stroke, parvovirus, snake bites, burn victims, and many other reasons.

What are the risks of my dog donating blood?

Dogs are generally better donors than people! We expect our donors to act completely normal after donation and we want to hear if you notice anything abnormal.

Just like people, some dogs have slight bruising at their donation site. We monitor donors carefully during their donation and will stop immediately if we see any signs of distress.