IndyVet Emergency & Specialty Hospital (IndyVet), central Indiana’s original 24-hour emergency and critical care veterinary center, will host a canine blood donor open house for central Indiana dog owners from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, September 26 at its facility right off I-465 and Emerson Avenue on Indianapolis’ southeast side.
IndyVet will host two informative presentations on the unique blood donor program for animals, and also highlight moneysaving perks for donors, which includes free annual exams and vaccines, plus discounts on heartworm and flea medications, and more. Guests can tour the facility, meet the staff and hear testimony from other pet parents who participate in the program.
Even 1970s and 80s local children’s TV icon “Cowboy Bob” known from WTTV-Channel 4’s series Cowboy Bob’s Corral (with dog sidekick named Tumbleweed), will appear with his two dogs – 1-year-old Rocky and 4-year-old Lela— as they participate in the unique program. Two of his other dogs previously required multiple blood transfusions at IndyVet to treat immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, a condition that affects the immune system.
The open house schedule is:
9 a.m.-noon – Meet and greet with refreshments and dog cookies
9:30 a.m. – Presentation and Q&A
10 a.m. – Facility tour
10:30 a.m. – Meet and greet with “Cowboy Bob,” wife “Wrangler Gail” and blood donor dogs
11 a.m. – Presentation and Q&A
11:30 a.m. – Facility tour
“There is a severe shortage in blood, especially with dogs,” said Dr. Jim Speiser, owner and founder of IndyVet. “But unfortunately, some people don’t realize the need until their own dog is on the receiving end.”
Currently, the blood bank hub is forced to put veterinary hospitals on a waitlist due to an insufficient amount of donors, plus when dogs are forced to retire at a certain age, that also plays a role.
Dr. Speiser says ideally he’d like to see 50-100 new dogs join its program. These dogs will provide immediate plasma and blood supply for sick animals suffering from anemia, poisonings or other life-threatening emergencies that require surgery. Blood supply stays local and is also shipped to over 100 hospitals across the U.S.
Dogs who meet the requirements need to be: between 1 and 8 years old, weigh at least 35 pounds, and be current on heartworm preventative and vaccines.
For those that meet the criteria, dog owners can sign their dog up for a blood screening on Sept. 26 by filling out a pre-registration form on IndyVet.com under “Blood Bank.” Thirty-minute screenings will be scheduled first-come, first-served in advance only, but reservations can also be made for another day and can also be scheduled at the event.
Screenings booked in advance or during the event will receive complimentary blood work, which is a $200 value. This blood work will determine if the dog can become a regular donor by donating blood at a minimum of every two months.
Dr. Speiser says typically around 85-90 percent of dogs screened are eligible to become donors. A small percentage is ineligible if their blood work reveals an infectious disease. In this case, IndyVet will offer a free consultation.
Certain dog breeds like bulldogs, greyhounds and pit bulls have a higher percentage of being universal donors, which means their blood can be used on almost any dog of any blood type without much of a chance for side effects or adverse reactions. However, any dog could be universal.
IndyVet requests that only dogs with confirmed reservations for the event accompany pet parents. Indoor cats at least nine pounds can also become blood donors at any time, but this specific blood donor drive is tailored just to dogs.
To book a screening or for more information on IndyVet’s blood donor program, click here.