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Canine blood bank opens in El Dorado Hills

El Dorado Hills veterinary center houses canine community blood bank
El Dorado Hills veterinary center houses canine community blood bank 02:01

EL DORADO HILLS — We all know that donating blood can save a life, but a new canine blood bank can help save pets' lives, too. 

"Emergency and critical care is always short on canine and feline blood products," said Esfra Ennes, a blood bank coordinator at Insight Veterinary Wellness Center in El Dorado Hills.

Just like humans, when a dog or cat needs emergency surgery, they may also need extra blood.

"Historically, California has had what is termed closed colony blood banks, which means the dogs live there, they stay there, they don't really do much else," Ennes said.

Insight Veterinary Wellness Center now houses one of the two canine community blood banks in California.

"Which means the dogs are all owned, they're living at home with their families," Ennes said.

Right now, they are only taking dog blood donations.

To be eligible to donate, the dogs must be between one and seven years old, weigh more than 50 pounds, be on flea, tick and heartworm prevention, and be a certain blood type.

"We send some blood work out. We send a fecal out and make sure they don't have an infectious disease," Ennes said.

This program has been fully up and running since the beginning of the year.

Veterinary Assistant Sarah Gardner said Insight has already seen the impacts of having blood readily on hand.

"It was lucky that we had stock in, so when that patient came in, our ER staff was able to utilize what we had and we saved that patient's life," Gardner said.

Pets can sometimes wait weeks, if not months, for blood, so Gardner said this really makes the difference between life and death.

"It can be kind of touch and go and scary if we were not able to get what they need in the timeframe," Gardner said.

The program is voluntary and there is no cost to participate. Benefits for qualified animals include:

  • Complimentary blood typing
  • Pre-screening and annual lab work/exams
  • Fecal testing every 6 months
  • Complimentary flea/tick and heartworm preventative

They hope to be able to take cat donations in the near future.

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