I recently registered Yoda (Sh Ch Redrue Sea Biscuit with Monzamo) as a blood donor with pbb, which is pet blood bank, and this is an account of his first donation.
I recently registered Yoda (Sh Ch Redrue Sea Biscuit with Monzamo) as a blood donor with pbb, which is pet blood bank. They are a registered charity based in Loughborough and they travel around the country holding donor sessions at various veterinary practices.
On arrival Yoda was given a thorough examination and a small patch of hair clipped from a front leg and his neck and some anaesthetic cream applied to the neck area. A small amount of blood was then taken from his leg, this was used for blood typing and to test for haemoglobin and hydration levels. There is also a questionnaire which had to be filled in beforehand and this was checked by the vet at the same time.
Once the blood sample had been tested OK and typed (apparently there are around 15 different blood groups but for donation purposes they only test whether they are positive or negative), we moved to the donation room.  Yoda was lifted onto an examination table which was covered with a large mattress. After some fuss and tummy rubs a large needle with tube attached was inserted into his neck and the donation began. Periodically a nurse weighed the bag until sufficient blood had been taken (about a pint), the needle was then removed and a pressure pad and bandage was applied to Yoda's neck. This process only took about 5 minutes or so and Yoda was very good the whole time, mind you the care and attention show by the vets and nurses in attendance certainly helped as they were very caring and professional the whole time.
The vet explained that Yoda's blood would be subjected to a complete range of tests to ensure that he is healthy and the blood is suitable for use in any situation where a transfusion is necessary. This has obvious advantages for the donor because if they do find that there is something wrong with the blood they contact the owners so your dog is effectively getting a full blood work done for free! Apparently one donation of blood could save the lives of up to four dogs.
We then went to the waiting room for Yoda to have a rest. He was given some high protein food and water and then had a brief health check again before we were given the all clear to leave. I had been slightly apprehensive beforehand but everything went so smoothly and Yoda was a credit to me and the breed and we will certainly be attending more sessions in the future. Yoda was given a goody bag which contained a toy, a bandana which reads "I'm a pet life saver", a tag for his collar , a tin of the high protein food, some treats and an information leaflet.
Certain criteria have to be met before your dog can become a donor. They must be between 1 and 8 years old, weigh over 25 kilos, have a good temperament, should never have travelled abroad, be up to date on all vaccinations and be fit and healthy.
Whilst we were in the waiting room I read in the leaflet about the first two blood donors, William and Marcus, who were proudly pictured, and guess what? William is an orange roan Spinone. Apparently he doesn't donate any more because he is now too old but how great that a Spinone was a pioneer for this much needed charitable organisation. More information can be obtained from the website which is www.petbloodbankuk.org
I would certainly encourage fellow Spinone owners to give some thought to enrolling their Spinone as a blood donor as it is a very good cause and you never know when your own dogs might one day need a blood transfusion which may save their life.
If anyone wants more information and they haven't got access to the internet they are more than welcome to give me a call, 01522 792743.
Pat Wilkinson