Dog blood donors in great demand

Brody, a Burmese mountain dog, is a big shaggy bundle of energy as he bounds through the park. But he hasn't always been this healthy. During a routine neutering procedure at a veterinary clinic, something went wrong. Brody started bleeding and almost died.

When dogs need a blood transfusion, they must rely on other dogs to donate and save their lives. Fortunately for Brody, the Flannery Animal Hospital in New Windsor, New York, has a list of nine dog blood donors on call in case of an emergency.

Judy Chura-Suchara's pitbull, Zuka, is on the list. They've gotten the call at 2 a.m. and rushed in to help.

"I told her, 'you're going to save someone's life tonight,' and she does, and it's great," Chura-Suchara said.

Donated blood is only good for about 30 days. There are some commercial blood banks, but it's hard for many small veterinary clinics to keep a fresh supply on hand.

And not every dog is cut out to be a donor. They need to have a universal blood type and a calm demeanor. In addition, they can't be too big or too small.

"They need to be between 50 and 100 pounds, fit, not under- or overweight, and undergo routine exams," veterinarian Frank Puccio explained.

The process of donating takes just 15 minutes and dogs are rewarded with a treat at the end.

If you're interested in having your dog become a blood donor, ask your vet for information on screening.

Kia, a German Shepherd, is a canine blood donor.
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