WATCH: A Victoria woman is hoping to create awareness about the need for donated animal blood. Her dog Angus is currently fighting for his life and needs blood as part of the treatment. But as Luisa Alvarez tells us, there’s also a province-wide shortage.
Angus, the six-year-old rottweiler, got some much-needed love from his owner Kimberly Tamblyn who came to visit him at the vet.
He’s had a rough few days and has had to stay at the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital since Tuesday after a serious health scare.
“He was pooping out blood and large amounts of it there was a large puddle in our driveway when I got home and we took him immediately to the vet,” said Tamblyn.
It turns out Angus has an autoimmune disease.
“The immune system which should attack foreign things starts attacking its own cells and the cells that it’s attacking is causing him to bleed,” said Dr. Erinne Branter, one of the veterinarians treating Angus.
Part of Angus’ treatment is blood transfusions so he gets new platelets to help heal his system. The problem is animal blood supply is low. Province-wide there is a shortage.
“We are in the same shortage as humans are its a very similar situation,” said Dr. Branter.
Angus received two transfusions already but may need more. An extra bag came in Saturday from out of province but that one is the last one.
That’s why Kady Savard who is close friends with Angus’ owners and loves him like her own got a little creative in a desperate search for more blood.
Savard wrote on the Facebook “This for That” group.
“I put the word out for information or if anyone had a dog that was a registered donor,” said Savard.
She says the response was overwhelming and through the group, a registered dog donor was found in case Angus needs more blood and it’s a good thing a donor was found.
“They called this morning cause his levels dropped again he was going to need the last bag of blood and if there is no more blood and he needs a transfusion then that’s it,” said Tamblyn.
Angus has a long road to recovery but should be okay especially now with the backup donor.
But both Tamblyn and Savard say they want to raise awareness so nobody else has to go through the stress they’ve endured not knowing if there would be enough blood.
“It never occurred to any of you and everyone that I spoke to that has a large dog it never occurred to anyone that a blood bank for dogs was something that was so necessary what if something happens to someone else’s wonderful large dog that’s their family member,” said Savard.
Dr. Branter who is opening up Waves Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Langford next month says they will have a blood donation program once it opens in April.
Savard is currently taking names and contact information of owners who are interested in registering their pet and will contact them when the program at Waves is up and running. Those who wish to be on the list can e mail her at [email protected]
For dogs to be eligible they must typically between the ages of 1 and 8 yrs old, weigh over 55 lbs, be in good physical condition, up to date with all the vaccinations and have good temperament.
Dogs also have different blood types. They are different than human blood, and are categorized into seven different groups, which can often be determined by it’s size.
“People could sign up for blood donation programs that would be ideal,” said Dr. Branter.
Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital has a program. But becoming a donor isn’t as easy as just wanting to be one.
To be a donor a lot of screening needs to be done and the blood donor program at CVA has a list of eligible donors who have gone through the screening test already. Interested parties can contact VCA directly.
The most common type is the Dog Erythrocyte Antigen (DEA) 1.1. Usually, a donation collects 450-500 mls, and dogs are eligible to donate every three months.
For more information about the Canadian Animal Blood Bank visit their website.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital program was on hold. The program is still continuing. CHEK News regrets the error.