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Dogs Donating Blood

Dogs need and receive blood transfusions just like humans. Seattle pet photographer Julie Clegg shares her experience with dogs Banjo and Bailey to find out if they are eligible to become donors.
Written and photographed by Julie Clegg
A couple of weeks ago, Bailey, Banjo and I went up to Seattle Veterinary Specialists to see if they were eligible to become blood donors. It was a short drive up to Kirkland, Wash. where SVS is located. Bailey went first, which did not please Banjo being left alone in the car, but thankfully he didn’t eat anything.

They both had a quick blood draw for some initial blood typing. This initial test checks the blood to see if it is DEA 1.1 negative. I don’t know a whole lot about the specifics, but I do know they both passed this test, which is the first step in becoming a universal blood donor. I am told this is like being Type O in people. Now that they passed the first test, the blood has been shipped down to UC Davis for more extensive tests. We still don’t know the results yet, but if they do pass, then a full health panel is done on the blood which checks for things like heart worm, Lyme Disease and other tick borne diseases, as well as many other general health tests.

It would be super awesome to have all the tests come back good and to be able to have both Bailey and Banjo in the program. If they are found to be universal donors, their blood would be donated every couple of months. This blood is used for immune mediated diseases, blood transfusions, anemia and many other things. It can be used for any dog, which makes this type of donor so valuable.

What is also wonderful about this program is that there is no charge to you to have any of the tests done. You get a great look at your dogs overall health while possibly helping numerous other dogs out there that might be in an accident or have health issues. If your dog is a universal blood donor, when you go to have the blood drawn your dog receives a physical examination, another check on the blood to check for things that might not be showing symptoms yet (what a lifesaver that could be!), a $50 credit to Seattle Veterinary Services, and lots of love and kisses for your dog.

Bailey and Banjo didn’t have any problem with the blood draw, and there were lots of wagging tails and smiling faces. They did wonderful and I can’t wait to hear the results.

I also learned that greyhounds, pitbulls and German shepherds are breeds that generally have a high rate of success for universal blood. If you’re interested in having your dog tested for this program or want to find out more information, you can set up an appointment with Erin Kelly, LVT (425.823.9111) or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

Seattle Veterinary Specialists is a full-service veterinary hospital and 24-hour emergency care facility servicing the greater Puget Sound Community. All major veterinary specialties are represented including internal medicine, surgery, cardiology, neurology, neurosurgery, radiology and emergency/critical care.

Make an appointment and see if your dog can help!
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