January is National Blood Donor Month, and in recent years the demand for pet blood has increased thanks to advances in veterinary technology and new medical treatments for dogs and cats, which include treating heart disease, heat stroke, immune system conditions, kidney disease or injury, acute trauma, poisoning and more. Similar to humans, cats and dogs have different blood types; felines have three different feline-specific blood types, and canines have six. While pet donor requirements and screening can vary slightly by state and program, the need for pet blood supplies is constant. BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Vet Hospital, which has a Sarasota clinic on South Tamiami Trail, also has a blood bank at that location where pet donors can give blood to help replenish supplies.
To donate, dogs must be one to seven years old, healthy, up-to-date on vaccines and weigh more than 50 pounds. Canine blood, specifically, is not breed specific, but greyhounds are known for being universal donors. Conversely, cats must weigh more than 10 pounds, live indoors, and be two to seven years old. Cats must also test negative for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, and have not previously bred or received a blood transfusion.