Sunday, November 2, 2008

Canine Blood Donors

Just like humans, dogs (and cats) rely on each other for blood transfusions when they are ill or injured. Many dogs can donate blood to vet hospitals, although requirements vary. Our local canine blood bank mandates that doggie donors must be between 1-5 years old and weigh 55 pounds or more, so unfortunately Greta and Dewey aren't eligible. Aside from the weight and age requirements, though, lots of disabled dogs are still able to provide donor blood. Recently we discovered two extra special dogs who do just that: Levi and Goldie.

Levi is a handsome blind Dalmatian who lives in Wales. He was born with a condition called Retinal Dysplasia which rendered him sightless. When Levi was 5 months old, he developed Glaucoma in his left eye, and at 11 months the Glaucoma appeared in his right eye. As a result, both of Levi's eyes had to be surgically removed. According to his humans, however, none of this seemed to affect Levi's happy personality.

Best of all, Levi's blindness didn't stop him from being a canine blood donor for several years. Levi was known as an especially calm and patient donor, making him a favorite of the vet staff and his transfusions helped save several lives. Way to go Levi!

Goldie, a lab mix, is a tripod who lost her front left leg after being hit by a car. She was a stray at the time of the accident, but a good samaritan got her the emergency care she needed and the vet staff who treated Goldie ended up collectively adopting her! As a permanent resident at an Oklahoma City vet hospital, Goldie regularly donates blood to other dogs in need.

Despite their limitations, Levi and Goldie have been able to lead great lives and help dogs with traumatic injuries, clotting disorders, surgical blood loss, bone marrow problems, and many other aliments. Pretty amazing, isn't it?!? Levi and Goldie both demonstrate that a dog doesn't need 4 legs or sight to help others...

If you have a medium to large sized dog, I encourage you to explore blood donation options in your area. Regardless of your best friend's physical ability, he/she may still be able to save lives!

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