Greyhounds donate blood to Colorado canine bank

Greyhounds donate blood to Colorado canine bank

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Aug 23, 2008
By dvm360.com staff
Fort Collins, Colo. -- Hundreds of dogs treated at Colorado State University's Veterinary Medical Center have dozens of their peers, mostly greyhounds, to thank for the blood they require during treatment.
Every two months, nearly 30 dogs, mostly greyhounds, travel from as far as Denver and Wyoming with their owners to donate blood for the teaching hospital's blood bank. The program was started more than 20 years ago at the school, and dogs that participate now are screened for illness and infections and get a free bag of dog food for each "deposit."

Many of the participants are referred to the program through a local greyhound rescue program, since the breed is an ideal canine blood donor with the universal canine blood type. The easy nature of greyhounds also helps make them good donors, the school says, since dogs who don't like the procedure aren't allowed to donate.

"If the dogs object, we don't use them," says Maura Green, the head nurse of small animal medicine at the hospital who founded the program.

When a dog "retires" from the program owners receive letters with information about how many their dog's donation helped. Some recent retirees helped save 20 to 35 dogs each, according to the school.

Without the volunteer donations, which provide one unit per visit to contribute to the 500 units the hospital uses each year, it is estimated the blood units would cost clients $200 to $350 each.