WE ALWAYS NEED NEW DONORS!
Why do we need canine blood? And why greyhounds specifically?
Just like human doctors, veterinarians have to respond to emergency situations and illnesses where blood products can make the difference between life and death. The Greyhound Health Initiative is committed to educating veterinarians and the public on the life-saving uses of different blood components in domestic dogs. Our nonprofit blood bank provides both the education and the blood products the veterinarians need.
Did you know that greyhounds are referred to as “universal blood donors”? While not technically accurate, it is true that over 85% of greyhounds have a blood type that allows their blood to be used in all other dogs. And greyhound blood has additional advantages of being unusually rich in red blood cells, along with having lower than average white blood cells and platelets. There are 12 different blood types in dogs, so finding the universal donors is extremely important as matching donors to patients would be an unmanageable and expensive proposition. While other breeds typically have less than a 50% chance of being a universal donor, we will test any healthy dog over 50 lbs and between 1 and 7 years old (see Requirements below).
Our blood bank supplies standard care veterinarians and emergency clinics alike to help them respond to emergency cases and everyday situations. The proceeds from the sale of these products will help pay the administrative costs associated with running the blood bank.*
And, with every greyhound donor we see, we keep blood samples to be used for future research. It seems that every time a new blood test comes out, greyhounds like to fall outside of the normal reference intervals (see SDMA in Greyhounds). So we’re partnering with Idexx Laboratories to establish those norms before other tests are available commercially, preventing additional testing, expenses and possibly an incorrect diagnosis resulting in unnecessary treatment.
A single donation can save up to four other dogs. Think your dog has what it takes to be a hero? Please call 1-800-416-5156 x1 to speak to one of our Blood Bank Managers about becoming a donor.
Is it safe?
YES! While there is a risk with any medical procedure, if you’ve ever donated blood yourself, then you know there’s little more than a pinch when the needle goes in and no sedation is necessary. The greyhound’s large veins and calm demeanor make them perfect for this procedure, which only takes about 10 minutes, and they can either stand or lie down while a pint of blood is drawn from their neck … occasionally one will even fall asleep and maybe even try to roach while donating and they all seem to find the Sinatra satellite radio station we play for them very relaxing. We evaluate all potential donors for their cooperative nature and relaxed attitude in the clinic—we want this to be a positive and comfortable experience for everyone, especially the pups. Afterward they get treats and lots of love, and the only sign they gave blood is a small shaved patch on their neck. After a short observation period, they are free to return home. Most dogs can safely donate every three to four weeks, but we typically won’t collect their blood more than six times per year.
Benefits of being a Blood Donor
If your dog meets the requirements* needed to join the Greyhound Health Initiative Blood Donor Program, they will receive the following benefits:
- FREE physical exam;
- FREE CBC (blood work);
- FREE chemistry profile;
- FREE serological tests for heartworm disease and tick-borne diseases;
- FREE blood products for life, even after ceasing to be a donor;
- FREE flea, tick and heartworm preventatives year-round;
- FREE or discounted vaccines;
- Inscribed tag with Blood Bank name and dog’s blood type (this also acts as another form of identification at the time of donation);
- Membership into The Greyhound Health Initiative;
- The knowledge that you are saving another dog’s life!
*The eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Your dog must be between 1 and 7 years old;
- They do NOT need to be a greyhound;
- They must weigh at least 50 lbs;
- They must be healthy, friendly, and not be unusually nervous in the vet’s office;
- They must be on heartworm and flea & tick preventatives year round (we supply);
- They must be available to donate once every two months (6x per year);
- You must live within a comfortable driving distance to Dublin, Ohio. We cannot do remote blood donations.
Please fill out the screening form and contract below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-416-5156 x1 to speak to one of our Blood Bank Managers if you still have questions about your dog becoming a donor.
Adoption groups! Interested in holding a blood drive? If you’re within three hours of Columbus, Ohio, have six to 10 potential donors that can meet every other month, and a location where we can work, then we can come to you! Call us today to discuss the details: 1-800-416-5156 x1.
Have questions? Please see our FAQ page. Done that and still have questions or suggestions for us?
Feel free to drop us a line!