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In surgery, having a supply of blood is crucial in a patients survival, it's the same scenario for our furry friends as well.

Carman Vet Clinic held a blood donation clinic Wednesday; Michael Philippot, lab coordinator for the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Animal Blood Bank,
says the clinic was to increase awareness and help in the ever increasing demand for canine blood.

"We supply all of Canada; we're always getting constant calls for blood, it's a lot of these significant emergency clinics that do it for pre-surgery, hit by a car, or tumour removal."

Philippot adds a dog's immune system can sometimes attack its blood cells; by having blood available for a transfusion it gives vets the time to correct the issue.

Dogs have over 12 blood groups, eight DEA (dog erythrocyte antigen) types recognized as international standards, which are determined by the presence or absence of specific antigens (proteins and sugars) on the red blood cell membrane. Philippot says they focus on DEA 1.1 A which is positive, or DEA 1.1 O which is negative.

The process is quite simple; the owner will come in with their pet, and after a preliminary questionnaire, the pet will lay on its side, and vets will collect blood from the jugular vein, which is considered the quickest and easiest method of extraction.

However, Philippot says there are some restrictions when it comes to a canine being eligible to donate.

*At least one year of age;
*At least 55-pounds;
*Can't be older than eight to be a first-time donor;
*Up-to-date on vaccines, and be in good health.

The reason for the 55-pound minimum has to do with the amount of blood veterinarians take says Philippot.

"We take a pint from each dog, regardless if they are 55 pounds or larger. That volume is a little too much for smaller dogs to handle."

The clinic in Carman was only open to dogs, as cats are less cooperative and require general anaesthesia to donate blood. Philippot says they are always looking for new donors, and if an owner wants to help out, they can contact their local vet clinic.


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