Canines help others of their kind at blood drive
LIMERICK » Aug. 26 is National Dog Day, and what better way to celebrate your favorite pup than by teaming up to help another one?
Dog owners had just that in mind Aug. 26 when they showed up at K-9 Cottage, 3208 W. Ridge Pike, eager to volunteer their dogs for blood donations being collected by Penn Vet Animal Blood Bank. As donors, the dogs have the capability to help save up to three dogs per donation.
“This is Moose. He comes here for day care every day during the week,” said Tom Strycharz, of Sanatoga, about his dog. “I do blood donations myself, and I’ve had several dogs and I’ve never needed to have themget any type of blood transfusion or anything, but you never know. It’s kind of like paying it forward I guess for dogs, just like we do for our own donations.”
Around a dozen people, many of whom take their dogs to K-9
Cottage regularly, showed up with their furry friends for the drive.
“I’m very happy to be sponsoring the Penn-Vet canine bloodmobile,” said Allison Von Czoernig, owner of K-9 Cottage and A+ Obedience Training. “For about 10 years now I have been following this program and have tried to be a place that they could come and for whatever reason, whenever I had a great place they were no longer taking test patients and I finally had some good timing.”
At around 10 a.m. Aug. 26, veterinarians from Penn Veterinary Medicine began working with their first donor, Rebel.
“We act a lot like a human Red Cross,” explained Kym Marryott, manager of Penn Vet Animal Blood Bank. “We travel out to dif- ferent places and collect pints of blood from healthy dogs for our sick animals at the hospital.”
After allowing the dog donors to sniff around the van for a few minutes and get used to the environment, Marryott and veterinarian Elizabeth Hardt began taking samples from the dogs to test their blood types. Like people, dogs have different blood types, and a dog with the type known as DEA 1.1 negative is considered a universal donor. Penn Vet was seeking dogs with this blood type to donate to its sick animals.
“One of the big differences with people and dogs is blood types. Obviously people can’t donate to dogs and dogs can’t donate to people, but dogs have different blood types like people. They also have a universal blood type, which is the type we’re looking for today,” Marryott said.
When a dog was determined to have the correct
blood type, it was then ready to donate a pint.
There are some important restrictions for dog blood donations, however. Dogs must have a good temperament and be willing to volunteer. They must also weigh between 55 and 150 pounds, be between the ages of 1 and 6 and be in excellent health. They must also be willing to commit to bi-monthly draws.
In addition, Marryott explained that as a volunteer blood bank, Penn Vet never
muzzles the dogs during the process, and if the dog or owner does not feel comfortable with the process, they are free to change their minds at any time.
“The owner has to be very compliant. It’s a volunteer program, but obviously it’s the owner volunteering. So when volunteering, the dogs are not sedated. We can’t tell the dogs exactly
what we’re going to be doing so it’s a little bit harder to explain it than to just say ‘Hey, put your arm down,” said Marryott.
After about the first two hours of the drive and four dog visits, the vets came away with their first three pints of donated blood.
“The best part of today is that it’s another way that K-9 Cottage and A+ Obedi- ence are reaching out into our community. I’m a very community-based person and I feel it’s so important to help the dogs that aren’t in my program. It’s about giving back to your people and your community and the dogs in this case. It’s really the most important thing to me,” Von Czoernig said.
For more information on the Penn Animal Blood Bank visit www.vet.penn.edu or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennvetschool.
From left, K-9Cottage owner Allison Von Czoernig and veterinarians Kym Marryott and Elizabeth Hardt stand with their first donor, Rebel, as he finishes up.
Elizabeth Hardt holds on to dog Jacy as Kym-Marryott takes a blood sample at the Penn Vet animal blood drive.
Dog donors received heart sticker and food after successfully donating blood to the Penn Vet animal blood drive held at K-9 Cottage and A+ Obedience.
Moose, a volunteer dog donor, waits patiently outside the blood mobile as vets finish up with another dog.