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Sign up your dog to be a blood donor

A Cumbrian veterinary practice is urging dog owners to sign their pets up to be blood donors as the coronavirus pandemic has led to a decline in donations.

Like thousands of other practices, Paragon Veterinary Group relies on donations of life-saving blood and plasma to perform many of its operations and treatments.

The importance of blood donations has been highlighted by Annette Nicholson, of Hesket Newmarket, whose 11-year-old Jack Russell, Hugo, needed critical surgery.

She said: “At first I thought it was just an age thing, he started sleeping a lot and I had no idea what was wrong with him.

“He was very ill, he just stopped eating and was really unwell.

“So I brought him to the vets and Ann Noble saw him and realised that something wasn’t right.

“They did various tests and found that he’d got a growth on his spleen and it was the size of an orange.

“They’ve had to remove his spleen and the growth but he had to have a blood transfusion before they operated on him because his platelet level was so low.

“Really his life was saved by being able to have the transfusion so he could have the operation.”

Paragon keeps a list of owners and dogs willing to donate should there be a case that requires a transfusion.

In this instance, veterinary nurse Kelly Armstrong brought in her Labrador, Belle, to donate blood.

After his four days with the vets, Hugo was allowed home and has returned to full health.

Ann said: “Blood donations are a hugely important resource, as we’ve seen with cases such as Hugo’s.

“If we didn’t have blood available to give him, there wouldn’t have been such a positive outcome.

“Pets can donate blood safely – although not all pets will be suitable for being a donor – so we urge anyone who would consider their dog being on the donor list to contact the practice.”

For more information on pet blood donations, call Paragon on 01228 710208.