Palmyra animal hospital is saving canine lives with dog blood transfusions

(WHTM)– When you think of donating blood a human blood drive may come to mind but other creatures need transfusions too.

Sammy, a Golden Retriever, was giving the gift of life. He is a blood donor for The Vetting Zoo in Palmyra.

“If Sam or one of mine can help, its important, it’s important to humans, it’s important for dogs,” Sammy’s owner Donna Weik said.

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Sammy’s blood saved Smokey. “She’s only here because of it,” Smokey’s caregiver Cindy Olweiler said. Smokey, a Chihuahua mix, had gallbladder surgery.

“She is 14-years-old and she would not be here if she would not have received that blood donation,” Olweiler said.

Dr. Diane Ford, owner of The Vetting Zoo, says her practice started performing more surgeries requiring transfusions, especially those involving tumors.

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“In order for us to do those properly, safely, and with the best interest of the animals, we needed to transfuse blood, and the only places around where emergency centers,” Ford said. “So for us to do the surgeries themselves, we wanted to begin a blood donor program.”

That started with the now retired Sherman. “He was one of our first blood donors,” Sherman’s owner Nikkie Often said. “He donated multiple times back in his younger years.”

In order for dogs to donate they must be in good health, they must stay calm, weigh at least 80 pounds, and testing for these requirements is free.

“We run a number of blood tests and we type their blood, and if they are universal donors we put them on our list,” Ford says.

A top breed of donors on that list is Pitbulls, like Sampson and Mack.

“It was cool to know he could help,” Mack’s owner Amanda Halbeib said. “We live really close, it’s nice to know we can be here really quickly if its an emergency or if its on a regular basis.”

Mack saved vet tech Charissa’s German Shepherd Rip. “He had to have an emergency surgery,” she said. “Mack came along, we had his blood on standby for a different surgery we didn’t use it for, and he came in on emergency and we got to use it.”

Other breeds like Doberman Athena, can donate too. “If your dog can help another canine, why not,” Athena’s owner Holly Caudill said. “It’s not hurting them.”

It is saving lives and dog parents from heartbreak, as we witnessed when Smokey’s caregiver met Sammy.

Dogs can donate once a month and they get a protein-packed canned food after snack.

The practice does not do cat blood donations because they must be crossed matched and there’s more of a chance of reactions.

The Vetting Zoo in Palmyra is always looking for more canine donors. For more information, visit their website.

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