March 2024 Newsletter

This Month's Featured Article


Your pet could save lives: seeking blood donor candidates.

Blood donors are true heroes and without their blood in that moment of need, a life would be lost. We only ever collect blood from donors if it is needed, so rest assured your pet will only be called forward in a life or death situation. Canine blood has a short lifespan and fortunately here at Gawler Animal Hospital we do not need to perform transfusions often – hence why canine blood banks are not currently sustainable.

Why are blood transfusions used?
For severe traumas where there is sudden blood loss
Bleeding disorders
Rat bait toxicity
Blood loss during surgery

Do dogs have blood types?
Yes they do! In a case of a first time blood transfusion, there is no cross matching required. Although in cases where the recipient has had a previous transfusion, cross matching is performed prior to any donation as there is a higher risk of reactions. In some cases blood typing will be performed prior to the donation and transfusion.

What is the criteria to be a blood donor?

  • Healthy
  • Weighs at least 25kg, but not overweight
  • Mesocephalic or dolichocephalic (meaning longer nose breeds, not bulldogs etc)
  • Between 1-8 years of age
  • Up-to-date with vaccinations, worming and other preventatives
  • Has not received a blood transfusion previously
  • Has a calm, trusting temperament
  • In most cases, the donor will be placed under a short anaesthetic to allow the donation to be collected without any stress. A dog can donate blood every 8 weeks if needed. We always consider the donors health as a first priority, a wellness check and blood test is performed prior to the donation and as always we maintain our high levels of fear free handling and care.

What happens next?

If you decide to consent to adding your dog to the blood donor list, you do not need to do anything else at this point. In a time of need, a member of our lovely customer care team will call you. We acknowledge that not everyone is available at a moments notice, hence why we love to have a list of donors to try. In the event a blood donor is required, we get in contact and then ask if you can bring your dog to the clinic.

Here, your pet may have to either wait on stand by at the clinic or be needed to donate straight away. A vet will examine your pet in hospital and ensure they are healthy and fit to be a donor on that day. An intravenous catheter is placed and blood collected for a wellness screen, if this is ok, the donation will go ahead.

The donation process usually takes about 10 mins. Your pet will be monitored closely while they recover with lots of love and cuddles from our team. When your pet is ready, we will call you to come and collect them. Overall, be prepared that your pet may need to stay several hours at the clinic

Following the donation, we recommend that your pet rests for the rest of day but should be able to return to normal activities the next day.


Our way of saying thankyou!

Along with the many cuddles and treats your pet would receive during their donation, we also would like to extend our gratitude further.

If we call you and your pet to be on stand by as a donor for an emergency, your pet will have a wellness blood test performed. This blood test checks the red blood cells, white bloods cells, platelets, renal and liver values, along with some other parameters.

If a donation is required, we will further reward with a gift voucher for your pets next health check and C5 vaccination.


Heroic Finn

Meet Finn, the handsome boy in the photo and one of our heroic donors.

Finn came into the clinic for a revisit after finishing some medications for an ear infection, when our team saw him as a perfect candidate to be a blood donor. We spoke to his mum about our blood donation program and she was more than happy to have Finn added to our blood donor candidate list.

That same day, our team had to perform an emergency Splenectomy. One of the major complications of splenectomy procedures is haemorrhage. Due to the high risk nature of the emergency procedure, our team reached for the blood donation list and Finn came back into the clinic for routine testing, so that he was ready to donate if required.

Luckily, Finn didn’t need to donate that day but having him there meant that another beloved pet had the absolute best chance of survival.

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding our blood donor process, or would like to add your dog to the list, please feel free to give our lovely customer care team a call on 8522 3500.


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Gawler Animal Hospital

Your full-service, high quality, locally-owned veterinary practice.

Offering a wide range of pet-care options from vaccinations up to complex medical and surgical treatments.

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