Blood donation in pets

For the longest time, we have believed that our pets hold the key to our happiness, health and emotions. But it's only recently we realized that they yield this power for other pets and streets too. They are more powerful than we imagined and have the ability to save a life.

All of this with just a simple act of blood donation.

Anushka Iyer, Founder and CEO of Wiggles.in, says, "Our pets face life-threatening situations too. In some cases, they require an urgent blood transfusion. But they can only receive blood if another pet donates. Blood transfusion is nothing but transferring a donor's blood to the recipient to replace any loss of blood and its components. Unfortunately, there's a general lack of knowledge and a bundle of myths that surround blood donation and blood transfusion in pets. It's time we increase awareness and educate the entire ecosystem from the grassroot level, so we can save lives."

Myth: Blood donation is painful for pets

Fact: Blood donation is a painless process. While we understand that pet parents are concerned about the well-being of their pets, this belief is nothing but a myth. Dismantling this myth, Dilip Sonune, Director of Veterinary Services at Wiggles.in, says, "The whole process of blood donation is simple and painless. It is always done under the supervision of a vet and the staff. They will ensure that your pet is comfortable in the surroundings and only then they will begin the process. A suitable vein is identified and an IV catheter is then attached to transfer blood to a specialized EDTA blood bag."

Myth: Blood donation leads to weakness

Fact: Blood donation can lead to better immunity. Post-blood donation, your pet's body works twice as hard to replenish the amount of blood that has been donated. In that process, new red blood cells and white blood cells are produced by the bone marrow. This means that for the next few days, your pet's immunity is at its peak. To ensure that your pet doesn't experience any weakness, an immunity-boosting tonic is also provided by the vet. After a few hours of observation, they're back in their homes with you, cuddling on the sofa.

Myth: Blood donation is time-consuming

Fact: Blood donation barely takes 10 minutes. The blood donation process on paper seems overwhelming but in reality, it is completed within 10 to 15 minutes. The only step that can take some time is ensuring that your pet is comfortable in the situation. Since each pet is unique and has a different response to new surroundings, the vets can take some time to help them settle completely. But once this is achieved, the actual process of donating blood gets over in 10 minutes. And after a few other steps, your pet is good to go back home!

Myth: Pets can donate only to their own breed

Fact: Pets can donate to anyone in their species. Pets don't discriminate even when it comes to blood donation. Another prevailing myth among pet parents is that a Golden Retriever can only donate to another Golden Retriever. They believe that breeds can donate among themselves. But this is far from the truth. Your pets, just like you, can donate to their species easily. Dogs can donate to all the dogs and cats can donate to all the cats (if their blood type is a match.) But it has to be noted that dogs can't donate to cats and vice-versa. The reason being, they have completely different blood types and there is no compatibility as well. Your pets can also donate to streeties who need blood. They might be suffering from tick fever or may have met with an accident with severe blood loss. Such cases may require rescuers to look for urgent blood donors and since pets are vaccinated, dewormed and healthy, they make for the perfect donors.

Myth: Pets who have recovered from tick fever cannot donate

Fact: Pets who have recovered from tick fever can donate. It's completely false that a pet who has recovered from tick fever can never donate blood. A pet is eligible for blood donation after 6 months of recovery from tick fever. In fact, they are a better match for a pet or streetie who is suffering from tick fever since the donor pet will have the antibodies that will only strengthen the recipient's fight against this deadly disease.

It's time we look beyond myths to save pets and streeties and support them to live a long, beautiful and happy life by registering them as blood donors under the #BondedByBlood initiative where Wiggles.in is trying to create an online repository of ready donor pets. This way each pet and streetie will have a chance to fight against the odds.      - IANS

Also read: 5 Caring tips for senior pets