THERE is something special about dogs Pepper, Sophie and Felice.
Along with their shared happy faces, sweet natures and waggy tails, they each help to save the lives of other dogs.
The trio regularly donate blood to the Animal Blood Bank in Osborne Park, a non-profit program within Perth Veterinary Specialists (PVS) and Animal Emergency Care.
They are among 30 canine and 13 feline regular donors but the bank is desperately in need of more.
Nurse manager Colleen Mandris said during October, the clinic performed 10 dog and two cat blood transfusions, which was more than double the usual.
Transfusions are often needed for pets with anaemia, which can happen from being involved in traffic accidents, ruptured tumours, ingestion of rat poison, kidney or liver failure and infections, and can also be required during or before surgery.
The Durrant family were given extra time to spend with their dog Fonzi, who received a transfusion in August following a ruptured tumour.
Making it more difficult is that as with humans, dogs and cats have different blood types.
Felice’s owner Kylie Warnock said her previous rescue dog needed blood but she had never thought about where the blood came from.
“We come up when we’re called and it’s just a nice way of helping out,” she said.
“I think it’s a great idea and I wish there was more understanding and awareness.”
Pepper’s owner Callum Daniels and Sophie’s owner Poh Teng both had previous dogs who required blood so were inspired to give back.
“Our last dog was always at PVS, she ate chocolate, she got into fights, she had to do chemotherapy because she had cancer and after that she had chronic renal failure,” Ms Teng said.
“After she passed we got another greyhound and we just thought we wanted to give back to a place that gave us a lot of help.
“I think she likes to go because she gets lots of attention.”
Ms Mandris said pets were sedated before blood donation and sent home with a goody bag of treats.
“We try to make it as pleasant an experience as possible because we don’t want to scare them off going to the vet,” she said.
The clinic is seeking healthy, calm, desexed animals aged between one and eight, with dogs required to weigh at least 25kg and cats at least 4.5kg.
Donations can be made up to four times a year.
Did you know?
Dogs and cats have different blood types.
– There are many different blood types in dogs and there may be more than one type present in an individual dog.
The main type of importance is the DEA 1 system.
Dogs may be DEA 1.1 positive or DEA 1.1 negative.
DEA 1.1 negative blood can be given to all dogs but DEA 1.1 positive blood should only be given to DEA 1.1 positive animals.
In an emergency situation dogs can be given either type of blood as long as they haven’t received a blood transfusion before.
Canine blood can be stored for one month.
– Cats have three bloods types, A, B and AB.
It is important that cats receive blood of the same type as their own.
When given the correct blood type there is less of a risk of the patient having a reaction to the donor blood.
Feline blood transfusions are less frequent and donated blood would expire if stored for use to cat donors are called when needed.