Veterinarians report national animal blood shortage, donations needed

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Posted at 6:54 AM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 10:07:41-05

There's almost always a need for people to donate blood and, in turn, help others survive, but did you know pets can donate blood to other pets?

Veterinarians across the country say that life-saving blood is currently in short supply with opportunities to donate not as visible or even available in some areas.

BluePearl Pet Hospital has emergency locations across the country, including in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, but the closest BluePearl blood bank where animal owners can bring their pets to donate is in Richmond.

To make up for the lack of donation opportunities, BluePearl tells News 3 its Hampton Roads locations have a program where employee's pets can donate. Other veterinary clinics, both local and across the country, have similar programs that in some cases can save a life.

"There is a universal blood donor, but they're rare," said Dr. Julie Trzil, a veterinarian at Nashville Veterinary Specialists in Tennessee. "They're more common in greyhounds. Even pit bulls, tend to have more universal blood types, more often than other breeds."

For pet donors, there is generally a screening process. For example, BluePearl requires that cat and dog donors are not over seven years old. They also have to be more than nine and 50 pounds, respectively, among other requirements.

Contact your vet if you're interested in finding out the opportunities for your pet to donate blood.