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Vets plead for canine, feline blood donations in the midst of nationwide shortage

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Veterinarians are pleading for people’s help, saying there is a nationwide and local shortage when it comes to canine and feline blood donation.

IndyVet Emergency and Specialty Hospital is one of a few locations statewide that collects blood donations.

“For humans, we have things like the Red Cross where people can go and donate blood,” Dr. Kelly Robertson, DVM, said.

“For animals, we don’t have any sort of national organization like that,” Robertson said. IndyVet has a couple of regulars that donate every four to eight weeks. Using a Great Dane, she showed CBS4 how the process works.

“It’s a relatively easy process. We take five to seven minutes for the actual donation, but we usually leave an hour for the appointment because we like to do lots of playing before and after,” she explained.

First, Robertson gave Mosby – the dog – some sedation. Then, several people lifted him onto the vet table. “I knew Mosby would be a good donor,” Christal Morita-Keating, Mosby’s owner, said. “He’s pretty happy and sociable with everybody.

He gets along and does pretty well. ”Mosby’s blood donation went quickly. Afterward, Morita-Keating said, he will be a bit tired. “He comes back pretty mellow and sleeps it off for a day,” she told CBS4.

The vet techs confirmed that their facility does multiple blood transfusions a week. Bigger cities have twice that demand.

Many locations are now facing a four to six-week backlog if the blood transfusion is not an emergency. “There just isn’t enough,” Robertson said.

If owners are interested in having their pet participate in blood donation, they can call their own vet for a screening. The animal will have to get a thorough exam, temperament testing, blood typing and an infectious disease test. The animal must be at least 35 pounds, happy and healthy to donate.

“The amount of blood we can collect depends on their body size,” Robertson said.

The vet said the animal may walk away with a bruise but otherwise, no side effects.

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