Meet Lance. He is a four-year-old Golden Retriever. He is also a donor dog. Last September, Lance and his owner, Ms Emmeline Ong’s selfless decision to donate blood. helped save the life of a precious friend.
Meet Sasha. She is a nine-year-old Cocker Spaniel. She is also Lance’s friend and the recipient of blood donation. Last September, Sasha found herself suffering from an immune-mediated disorder. Admitted into Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Gelenggang) with a very low red blood cell count, she needed blood transfusion urgently. Her lifeline: Lance. Today, Sasha is doing fine. Thanks to Lance.
The story of Lance and Sasha is a rare one. “It was fortunate that the two owners knew each other. In most other cases, the ailing pet’s owner, who is already traumatised by the condition of his pet, has to look for sources of blood,” said Dr Samantha Fong, veterinarian at Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Gelenggang), which sees the highest load of critical cases with an average of four blood transfusions in a month.
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We’ve heard of countless of slogans encouraging blood donation. We know that sometimes the difference between life and death lies in a simple blood transfusion. But here’s the thing: such a lifeline has only been made accessible and available to us because of active advocacy at blood donation drives.
The question then is: What is being done for our furry companions who also require such a lifeline in times of medical emergencies? Shortage of blood and lack of information leading to fear and misconceptions amongst pet owners are currently the biggest hurdles that clinics and affected pets face.
So when we received news that the largest veterinary chain and the largest pet event in Singapore are coming together to make this a possibility; we had to spread the word.
Speaking on the decision to use the largest pet event to raise awareness, Mr Jason Ng, Executive Director, MP Singapore and Project Director, Pet Expo said: “We have a national blood bank for people in need of blood in emergencies. Pets also can face emergencies. They must have ready access to life-saving blood in such times. Pet Expo, apart from being a platform for owners to learn more about pet-care and to mingle with other owners, also actively brings into focus the serious needs of the pet community.”
“We have been looking into possible ways of providing an answer for pet owners facing a serious problem of having to look for blood for their sick pets,” Mr Ng elaborates further as he touched on the partnership between Pet Expo and Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group. “Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group has come up with an answer and will help them to get the message across to pet owners at our show.”
Using Pet Expo as a platform for their Blood Donor Programme, Dr Sandhya Nair of Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (North) is hopeful of the future. After all, as with human blood drive, fears and misconceptions about pet blood donation that owners may have, can be changed with improved awareness and client education.
Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group will be running their blood donor drive at the Pet Expo this March 26.
A $100 gratitude gift will be credited to the owner’s clinic account following each donation. Photos of donor dogs and cats will be displayed on a Wall of Fame at participating clinics
How will the programme work?
Under the programme, a list of potential donor dogs and cats will be recorded. Should a dog or cat need blood, the clinic will contact the potential donors’ owners to bring their pets to the clinic for pre-donation tests.
Basic requirement of a donor:
- Only big dogs weighing 20kg and above
- Only cats weighing 5kg and above
- Your pet must possess a good temperament and health
How often can your pet donate blood?
Donor dogs and cats can donate blood every two to three months if they clear the physical examination and pre-donation tests on donation day.