Could your pooch be a blood donor hero? (yes, animals can donate blood too!)

Did you know that, like humans, dogs and cats can donate blood every three months – four times a year.

As Mandela Day approaches July 18, many of us are thinking of ways to spend our 67 minutes giving back.

One of them is donating blood, and the Western Cape Blood Service has a number of donation websites where we can help save a life.

But did you know that in addition to being our best friends and loyal companions, our cats and dogs can also save our lives?

Just as there is a need for human blood donors to help fill blood banks, our furry friends can also come to the rescue when another animal is in need.

The Tygerberg Animal Hospital (TAH) is the only veterinary blood bank in the Western Cape, and it takes blood donations from healthy cats and dogs.

According to TAH, transfusions are most often needed when an animal has suffered serious injuries resulting from, for example, being hit by a car, and is losing blood at a rapid rate.

Other cases could be when the animal swallowed rat poison or contracted fever from tick bites?

So how can your pet become a donor?

Well, the Western Cape Blood Service lays out the criteria for animal donors on their website as follows:

The requirements for dogs to become blood donors are as follows:

1. Be between 1 and 6 years old.

2. Weigh more than 25 kg.

3. Be healthy and maintain a healthy weight.

4. Have a calm temperament.

5. Have not received any blood transfusion.

6. All up-to-date vaccines, dewormers, tick and flea treatments.

7. Do not take chronic medications.

The requirements for a cat to become a blood donor are as follows:

1. Be between 1 and 8 years old.

2. Weigh at least 4 kg and maintain a healthy weight.

3. Must be FIV and FeLV negative.

4. Not suffering from any chronic disease.

5. Have a calm temperament.

Cats and dogs can donate blood every 3 months.

To find out more, contact the Tygerberg Animal Hospital Animal blood bank

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