Yorkshire Animal Hospital Appeals To Pet Owners To Sign Up Their Cats As Emergency Blood Donors
A Yorkshire small animal hospital is appealing for pet owners to consider signing up their cats to become emergency blood donors.
Paragon Veterinary Referrals, in Wakefield, is making the plea to cat owners to come forward with their pets to help potentially critically-ill feline patients when time is of the essence.
For canine blood transfusions, Paragon – along with vet practices up and down the country – can call upon the Pet Blood Bank UK but there is no such storage facility for cats.
Blood must be taken from the donor cat and given to the recipient in a relatively short space of time.
A transfusion gives a cat’s body a boost, providing it with vital red blood cells, which can then allow a vet to proceed with a more in-depth investigation into their condition.
Sometimes a cat may need two or even three transfusions before their body has a healthy amount of red blood cells.
Paragon ward team leader Lydia Barry said: “All blood transfusions take place in our ICU and, due to the critical nature of the patients involved, it’s hard to predict when we will need blood.
“Sometimes we do three transfusions in a week, sometimes it is one in a month. On average, we tend to carry out about two transfusions per month.
“With feline blood donors, we will call owners at short notice so, ideally, they need to be based in Yorkshire and happy to drive to us.
“We have had donors previously in South Yorkshire and up a lot further in North Yorkshire, so we’re calling on cat owners across the region to consider signing their pets up to become potential lifesavers.
“Even if someone is not a client of ours, we would love them to consider their cat going on the emergency donor list which means we are more likely to find an owner and donor cat available to help a patient in need as soon as possible.”
One pet owner who has already signed her cat up to become a lifesaving donor is Lucy Townsend, from Wakefield, whose pet Sunday has previously donated.
Lucy said she was inspired to sign her pet up after Sunday sadly had to have an eye removed by the expert team at Paragon.
She said: “Our good friend is a vet nurse and we were aware there was a shortage of cat blood, so we signed up for Sunday to be a donor after she was an inpatient at Paragon in the hope that we could do a good deed for at least one other cat!
“Sunday unfortunately had to have an eye removed, we suspect most likely the result of a fight, and we knew the team at Paragon were second-to-none and super caring, so it made the decision even easier.
“We would definitely encourage other cat owners to sign their pets up to become donors. Our daughter was six at the time Sunday donated and it was a great experience for her to understand.
“We were all really proud and even received a card and treats for Sunday from the family of one of the recipients, which was really lovely.
“The process itself didn’t take long at all. Sunday stayed in overnight as it was an emergency situation and evening surgery was required but the team at Paragon could not have been any more helpful. We were kept updated throughout the process and collected her the next morning.
“Sunday seemed totally unaffected by her adventure and was treated like a hero both at Paragon and at home afterwards!”
Donor cats must be aged between one and 10 years old, healthy and weigh more than 4kg. Donors must be up to date with their vaccinations and flea and worm treatments, and not on any medication or had a blood transfusion themselves. All cats are tested before they are able to donate.
Anyone who would like to sign their pet up to become a cat blood donor should call Paragon on 01924 908 333 and ask for either Jessica Herley, Kira Davison or Jane Scott.
For more information on Paragon Veterinary Referrals, visit www.paragonreferrals.co.uk or search for Paragon Veterinary Referrals on social media.