Lifesaver Blood Bank
Can your dog be a Lifesaver?
Last year, the VCA-NWVS 'Lifesaver' canine and feline volunteers donated over
400 units of blood for the ill and injured pets of Portland and surrounding regions.
Each unit of blood has the potential to help up to 4 animals. Wouldn't you like to
join us in saving lives?
To learn more about the
VCA-NWVS Critical Care Blood Bank
or to set up an appointment, please call
(503) 656-3999 or email us at
To become a canine blood donor, a dog must:
- Be friendly with a good temperament
- Be from 1 to 6 years of age
- Be in good physical condition and free of parasites
- Weigh at least 50 pounds
- Be current on vaccinations
- Have never received a blood transfusion
- Not be used for breeding
- Be taking no medication except heartworm, flea preventative, or thyroid medication
What are the benefits to being a canine blood donor?
- A full annual physical exam by a licensed Veterinarian
- Annual complete blood work including:
Complete blood cell count, Full chemistry, Infectious disease screening
- Heartworm testing
- 12 months of heartworm/parasite preventative
- Treats and toys
- Owners of canine blood donors tell us that the most important benefit is the satisfactionthat comes in knowing that their pet is helping to save the lives of other dogs.
Questions and answers
about canine blood donation
- If my dog is chosen as a blood donor, what will be my responsibilities?
Although your dog can safely give blood every 30 to 45 days, a donation is typically given every 60 to 90 days. Because of the great need for canine blood products, we request that a dog be able to donate at least four times a year.
- Is blood donation risky or painful to my pet? How much blood is donated at one time?
Blood donation is not painful to the blood donor. As in human medicine, the most common potential side effect is bruising at the site of collection (the neck area). Approximately 400 to 450 mls (one pint or two cups) of blood is taken at each donation.
- Will my dog have to be sedated or restrained to give blood?
The majority of dogs require no sedation when they donate blood. A canine blood donor assumes a lying position on a padded table and the dog's owner holds them and talks to them while the donation is being made. Occasionally, a very excitable dog may require light sedation to calm them during the donation process.
How long does giving blood take?
The donation often takes less than 10 minutes; an entire appointment takes only 20 to 25 minutes (this includes time for a physical exam and for the donor to enjoy their treats and affection from the staff).
- Can cats also become blood donors?
Currently our community blood donor program is limited to dogs. Drawing blood from cats requires special care (including the use of heavy sedation), so we limit participation to VCA-NWVS staff pets.