Blood Donor Program
Animal Blood Bank
The Iowa State University Veterinary Medical Center Animal Blood Bank was established in 1998. Our donors are dogs and cats owned by students and staff of the VMC. Prior to 1998, the hospital housed a number of dogs and cats that donated on an as-needed basis.
The blood products are only used for ISU Veterinary Medical Center patients. Examples when they might require a blood transfusion:
- Emergency / trauma patients
- Patients that require pre- or peri- operative surgical stabilization
- Patients that have exposure to rodenticides or other toxins (poisons)
- Anemic patients with acute or chronic diseases
Our blood bank provides numerous canine and feline blood products such as:
- Canine and feline packed red blood cells
- Canine and feline fresh frozen plasma
- Cryoprecipitate, Platelet-rich plasma and whole blood are available as needed.
Our donor selection and screening protocols, as well as our collection, handling and storage of all our products, follow the blood banking guidelines set by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. (www.acvim.org - see consensus statements)
The requirements for becoming a canine blood donor are:
A healthy dog, preferably neutered, weighing more than 55 lbs and between the ages of 2-7 years, with no history of serious disease. Some medications will exclude the dog from participating in the blood donor program. Examples of these would be aspirin, antibiotics, antihistamines, or steroids. It is preferred that they are also well socialized and well mannered.
- A commitment of a minimum of 2 years is required, along with availability in times of emergent need i.e. during the summer months and holidays.
- Must be maintained on monthly heartworm preventative and current on vaccinations including distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and rabies.
- During the screening process the dog will be blood typed. If the blood type is A negative, further screening includes in-house complete blood count (CBC), complete serum chemistry, heartworm check, fecal, and a urinalysis. Additional screening tests for infectious diseases include Brucella canis, Babesia spp., Ehrlichia spp., Mycoplasma, Leishmania, Anaplasma, Bartonella and Borrelia burgdofegeri (Lyme disease).
- After a successful screening process, the dog is added to our donor list and required to come in to our hospital to donate once a month. A dog can safely donate as often as every 3 weeks.
The requirements for becoming a feline blood donor:
A healthy, friendly feline who is easy to work with. Preferably neutered, weighing at least 10 lbs. and between the ages of 2-7 years, with no history of serious disease. Some medications will exclude the cat from participating in the blood donor program include aspirin, antibiotics, antihistamines, and steroids.
- A commitment of 2 years is needed, being available in times of emergent need i.e. during the summer months and holidays.
- Must be feline leukemia/FIV negative and current on vaccinations including feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and rabies. An echocardiogram is done for all cats to evaluate cardiac function.
- During the screening process the cat will be blood typed and also FeLV/FIV tested. Providing an A or B result and a negative FeLV/FIV test, further screening includes an in-house complete blood count (CBC), complete serum chemistry, fecal, and urinalysis. Additional screening tests for infectious diseases include Mycoplasma genus and Bartonella spp.
- After a successful screening process, the cat is added to our donor list and required to come in to our hospital to donate no more than once every two months.
Benefits provided to blood donor animals by the VMC :
- Physical examination by one of our veterinarians before each donation
- Routine health checks including complete blood count (CBC), complete serum chemistry, urinalysis
- Routine heartworm check and vaccinations for dogs and routine feline leukemia/FIV testing and vaccinations for cats
- Free pet health and nutrition
- Plenty of treats and TLC!