Dogs Get the Gift of Life, Too

Dogs Get the Gift of Life, Too

Just like humans give blood, so do dogs, and a veterinary technician at Beausejour Animal Hospital is making sure dogs in the North Eastman region are able to take part in the cause.

Kaitlin Johnson leads the canine blood donor clinics held at Beausjeour Animal Hospital. She says it’s hugely rewarding to help contribute to a cause that saves the lives of countless dogs across Canada a year. Donated blood goes to the Canadian Animal Blood Bank, a not-for-profit organization supported by the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association and Red River College.

The organization is dedicated to improving veterinary care by providing blood products for animals who require transfusion therapy as part of their care.

“I got to know the program when I was in school, and when I began working in Beausejour I thought I’d give it a go and see if we could get anyone to bring their dogs out to donate. It’s been a huge success,” Kaitlin says.

Like humans, dogs require blood transfusions for a variety of reasons, including injury and illness. Once accepted into the program (to qualify, a dog must meet several requirements related to age, weight, health and temperament), they visit the blood donor clinic every three months for a blood donation.

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Kaitlin Johnson spearheads canine blood donor clinics at Beausejour Animal Hospital.

A small area on the dog’s neck is shaved, and a pint of blood is collected during the painless procedure. Sedation or anaesthetic is not required during the donation, which lasts for approximately five minutes. The process will not jeopardize your dog’s health. When the blood donation is completed, Canadian Animal Blood Bank processes it into various blood components, which are made available to veterinarians across Canada to aid ill and injured dogs.

“There are always dogs in need, so we thought we’d do our part,” says Leanne Kanellis of Beausejour. She and her partner Mike bring their dog, Duke, to give blood every three months. Duke has given at least a dozen times.

“The first time we did a clinic, we needed a unit of blood shortly afterwards. It was donated by one of our donation dogs. It’s pretty humbling experience when you get to be a part of that,” Kaitlin says.

Plus, the dogs enjoy the experience too, notes Michael Philippot, lab coordinator for the Canadian Animal Blood Bank. “They always get lots of praise and treats. The dog gets used to it the more it donates. It’s all about choosing the right patients.”

For information on upcoming blood donor clinics at Beausejour Animal Hospital, call 204-268-2177 or watch for dates.

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