“There are a growing number of veterinary schools, which operate very successful community-based blood banks, where the animals, whether it be dogs or cats, live at home with their family, and every three or four months, the guardian will bring them to the clinic, or even a mobile clinic, and a vet or vet tech will draw blood from their animal for the purpose of donating it,” Paden said. “In exchange for that, the animals are often given free veterinary care … and of course, the animal gets to go home at the end of the day, like a human blood donor would, and not just be cooped back up in an unnatural, stressful situation.”
Another alternative is for veterinarians to ask clients to donate their pets’ blood to help other pets in need.
“A practicing veterinarian or a group of veterinarians … could have a list of their clients with large, even-tempered dogs in good health, and if a patient was presented in need of a transfusion, the veterinarian would call someone on this list, and say, ‘Can you bring your dog in? We need an urgent donation of plasma or red blood cells,’” Paden said. “So work with their own client list to develop that supply without having to buy blood from a facility keeping dogs captive.”