Since it is rarely discussed publicly, according to recent findings of a survey, most dog and cat owners are not aware of pet blood donation schemes and animal blood banks. However, the majority of owners in this study said they would be willing to allow their pets to donate blood, suggesting that just like human blood donation, raising awareness could help to increase donor numbers, say the researchers. The need for small animal blood is growing in veterinary practice. The proportion of pets that donate blood is unknown, but is likely to be very small, and the demand for blood is probably greater than the supply available.
So, researchers at the Royal Veterinary College set out to investigate pet owners’ awareness of small animal blood donation and their attitude and motivations towards their pet being a blood donor. Their findings, published in the journal of Vet Record, are based on data from 158 dog and cat owners over the age of 18 who attended a veterinary clinic for an appointment over a 10-day period.
Owners were asked to fill out an anonymous questionnaire on their awareness of pet blood donation, whether they would be happy for their pet to donate blood if suitable, and motivations and concerns about their pet taking part in blood donation. Of the 158 people who completed the questionnaire, 110 (70 per cent) were not aware that pets could donate blood and 118 (75 per cent) were unaware that pet blood banks existed. There was no significant difference between the proportion of male and female owners willing to let their pet donate. However, cat owners were less likely to let their pets donate than dog owners, as were owners aged 71 years or more, and those who worked full time.