Hero dogs to help save lives

15 Oct 2018
Hero dogs help save lives
Hero dogs help save lives

Countless dogs could be saved by a new pet blood donation program at The University of Queensland’s VETS Small Animal Hospital.

The Hospital Heroes Community Program recruits canine blood donors to help maintain blood product levels within the hospital, saving the lives of pets in need.

Lead Nurse Gary Fitzgerald is encouraging owners to sign their pet dogs up for blood donations.

“Just like people, our pets can suffer serious medical conditions and injuries that require blood transfusions,” he said.

“Like human blood donations, it’s a relatively painless procedure for the animal, but it could mean that a pet in need survives.

“We’re looking for healthy dogs who can make it to the hospital, are one-to-six years old, weigh more than 25 kilograms, are happy with a nice temperament and are up-to-date with their vaccinations, worming and heartworm prevention.

“We’ll conduct a health check, work out the dog’s blood type, take a small amount of blood and once the donation is finished, the dog will get lots of treats and cuddles and will be right to go home.”

Monty's life was saved through blood donation
Monty's life was saved through blood donation. 

Dog owner Courtney Smart said that a pet blood donation to UQ VETS Small Animal Hospital helped save her four year-old Maltese cross.

“Earlier this year Monty became very ill, very suddenly, and was immediately admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital,” she said.

“He was eventually diagnosed with Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, a deadly blood condition that caused his body to destroy his own red blood cells at a rapid rate.

“This condition, we were told, has an 80 per cent mortality rate, but the multiple blood transfusions Monty received at the hospital saved his life.

“Our family is beyond grateful to the beautiful dogs that saved his life simply by donating blood, and I’d encourage owners to sign their pets up if they’re eligible.

“One day it might be your puppy that needs a lifesaving donation, so remember that such a simple act can make a world of difference.”

To sign up your dog to the Hospital Heroes Community Program blood donation program, simply contact UQ Vets Small Animal Hospital on (07) 5460 1788 or email  uqvets.sa@uq.edu.au.

The staff at the hospital are looking to expand the program to also include donations from cats in the future.

Donations to support this and other UQ VETS programs are welcome, and can be made through UQ’s Giving Page.

Media: Gary Fitzgerald, g.fitzgerald1@uq.edu.au, +61 438 139 530; Dominic Jarvis, dominic.jarvis@uq.edu.au, +61 413 334 924.

More news from the School of Veterinary Science