U.C. Davis opens doggy blood bank

February 26, 2008 9:07:16 PM PST
U.C. Davis is now home to a blood bank of a different kind. This is a place where your dog can make a donation that might save another canine.

The blood bank has two to 400 dogs that come through to donate blood. After processing, the supplies will be kept in a refrigerator for a pet in need.

The blood supply has a shelf life of six weeks.

Twelve-year-old Cara Benson got to thinking. If she's so close to her golden retriever, Reno, other families must feel the same about their pet.

"He's just like a little brother to me. I just don't know what life would be like without him being in our house," said Reno's owner Cara Benson.

To help more families save their pets, Cara became one of the first to give the gift of life, by signing up her pet as a donor to a unique blood bank for dogs starting up at the U.C. Davis Veterinary Hospital.

While Reno spends the next couple months being cleared health-wise, there are already other dogs lining up to donate.

Even dogs don't like needles. With demand for dog blood rising every year, donor dogs used to have to live at the hospital, ready to give.

Now, U.C. Davis hopes to become the largest blood bank for dogs west of the Mississippi, where vets can request any one of the 13 blood types at no cost.

"To know we played a vital role in helping to return a family member home, that's success," said U.C. Davis Veterinary Hospital Sean Owens D.V.M

Canine officer Walter Broussard lives with the constant threat of criminals shooting his patrol dog, Grim.

"The chances of a K-9 dog surviving with a blood bank, a large blood bank that has different blood types, it's going to be high. It's going to be really high for any dog that needs a blood transfusion," said canine officer Walter Broussard.

And that's what Cara was hoping for.

"They can have a better chance of surviving with the blood my dog donated," said Benson.

Just like in the human world, donor dogs get a treat afterwards, and believe it or not, a doggy blood mobile is in works, so that dogs that live far away can also donate.


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