Donor dogs saving lives of sick pets
BLOOD donors save lives - just ask Amity, the Rockhampton great dane who has rolled up her sleeve to give four other dogs a second chance.
Amity is part of the donor dog program at Torenbeek Vet Clinic, an initiative that is gathering momentum and preventing sick pets from making an early exit to Doggie Heaven.
On Wednesday the Gair Street clinic had a patient in desperate need of a blood transfusion.
It was literally a life or death scenario.
Step up, Amity.
"The patient, a bull mastiff-cross, had no red or white blood cells and the body wasn't responding appropriately,” Torenbeek's practice manager Christie Kemp said.
"We're not 100% sure on what caused the loss (of blood cells) but the patient was really unwell.
"She did have complications having a litter of puppies so possibly a rupture in the uterus had caused a bleed.
"We'll see how the surgery goes, but we wouldn't have been able to go to surgery without Amity's blood for a transfusion so the patient would not have made it.”
All going well the bull mastiff-cross will be the fourth life that Amity has saved.
Mrs Kemp said the clinic had about 10 donors on its register, not including the pets which staff members had volunteered, and had recently started using social media to call for help when donors were required.
"Blood donations do go out of date after a month so we tend to just take blood as needed, rather than wasting blood and putting the donor dog through any unnecessary stress,” she said.
"We need dogs with good temperaments as donors because we take blood from the jugular vein and it takes about 15 minutes to fill a bag with blood.”
Donors also need to have their vaccinations and heartworm prevention up to date, be over 25kg and meet a few other requirements (see factbox).
"Just in the last six months I think we've done five blood transfusions - a lot of the recipients have been little puppies with hookworm burdens or dogs who have been through trauma,” Mrs Kemp said.
Amity's owner Adrian Hornagold said he was a dog lover and happy to help with the donor program.
"I've got another dog at home that will probably start to come in to give blood now that Amity has made her four donations.”
Mrs Kemp said anyone interested in becoming part of the dog donor register could contact the clinic.
"These donations are helping us save pets' lives.”