Lack of dog blood sends family out of state for emergency care
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – It’s not something we usually think of, a dog needing a blood transfusion. But after driving through it and sometimes hitting roadblocks, a Nebraska man wants all pet owners to be prepared for this type of emergency.
It started when her dog was hit by a car and when he went to the vet he found there was no blood for her in the state.
Millie, a one-year-old shaved pit bull, had surgery on Monday afternoon. Everything went well and she will recover soon, but there were challenges in getting there.
Last Friday morning, Chris Clements woke up to see his wife screaming. His dog Millie, visibly injured, was in his living room.
“To have her sitting there,” Clements said. “Just looking at me, it was really, really difficult.”
Millie had been hit by a car.
After the panic passed, Clements and his wife took her to the Nebraska Animal Medical Center. There they learned that Millie was bleeding internally, but that wasn’t the worst part.
“There was nowhere in Nebraska, not Lincoln, not Omaha, that had blood for transfusion,” Clements said.
On Friday night, the Clements were told the best thing to do would be to drive Millie to the Kansas State Veterinary Hospital, two and a half hours away. What they did.
“It was really scary,” Clements said. “And I thought I was going to lose my dog because we don’t have blood here in Nebraska. So it was just helpless and heartbreaking.
Back here in Lincoln, NAMC vet tech Shannon Byrne said they don’t keep animal blood on hand because they don’t transfuse often. So when they need blood, they have to collect it themselves at that time.
It is a strict process for dogs to donate blood. Among the requirements, they must be under seven years old, weigh more than 50 pounds and be in good health.
“So, of course, the owner has to be prepared to bring them in from whatever activity they can do at home,” Byrne said. “Or they have to be in our clinic already for it all to fit together perfectly, it’s just a bit difficult.”
Add to that, the blood donation process requires the supervision of a veterinary technician.
“It can sometimes take more than three technicians, just for the whole thing,” Byrne said.
It can be difficult, admits Byrne, when there are only one to three technicians working.
There is something pet owners can do, if your dog qualifies to donate, you should contact NAMC to be added to their donor list.
“Just see what you can do to get on this list to possibly save the life of someone’s dog,” Clements said.
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