Lake Area vets search for volunteer animals amid nationwide

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – As we continue to fight a nationwide blood shortage, a recent spotlight has shown a shortage in blood for your pets. 7News spoke with a Lake Charles vet about what he thinks the shortage stems from, and how you and your pet can help.

Many people have worked to do their part during the nationwide blood shortage, showing up to blood drives and donating when they can. But for your pets, it’s not as easy.

“It’s a shortage in the sense that it’s just not like human medicine where we have a specific place that we go. We call in when we need blood and we get it in,” said Dr. Michael Woodward with University Animal Clinic.

Dr. Woodward said the shortage isn’t necessarily a lack of donors.

“Some of the problem with the shortage is just storage. I guess it comes down to the point where – where do you store the blood? Where do you get the blood from?” said Dr. Woodward.

Dr. Woodward said they have a list of volunteer pets that are on call to give blood for transfusions if an emergency arises. He said they are able to plan that in advance with most surgeries, but in an emergency, the shortage could present a problem.

“Trauma – they’ll come in, and they have a ruptured spleen and be bleeding in the abdomen and those need immediate blood to be able to do surgery on them,” said Dr. Woodward.

He also says they have to be conscious of the dog’s blood type and size, just like in a human.

“Some dogs, especially autoimmune dogs or dogs that need blood over a period of time, we’ll have to type them and we have to pair them with the right type of blood,” said Dr. Woodward.

“A small dog over a period of time may receive 125 cc’s of blood, a large dog may need 500 cc’s of blood and depends on if they continue to bleed or not,” said Dr. Woodward.

Dr. Woodward says they’re always looking for volunteer animals, but it may not be for every pet.

“Have to have one that’s calm, that’s easy to draw blood from, that’s large enough to give a volume of blood,” said Dr. Woodward.

If you’re interested in getting your pet into a volunteer program to give blood, you can call your local vet.

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