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Home » Veterinary Services » Blood Bank

Blood Bank

Similiar to human medicine, injured or sick dogs and cats sometimes require life-sustaining blood transfusions.  The demand for blood products continues to rise.  Seattle Veterinary Specialists is currently recruiting canine and feline blood donors to help us meet this ever-increasing need.  We understand and appreciate the dedication it takes—for both people and their pets—to commit to becoming a SVS Blood Donor.  Blood donation is a gift of hope and life for companion pets that are in need.  Donating blood is your chance to help save a pet's life.


How to join the SVS Blood Donor Program

There are requirements that must be met before your dog or cat can be enrolled in the SVS Blood Donor Program.  There are basic requirements  (age and weight, for example) as well as more specific requirements (blood type).  If your dog or cat meets the general requirements (see below) and you can commit to a one-year blood donation period (a total of 4 donations), contact SVS’ Blood Bank Coordinator, Amiellia, to schedule a screening appointment at SVS.  Amiellia can be reached at 425.823.9111 or by email:


General Requirements for Blood Donors: Canine

  • Weigh 45 lbs or greater
  • Between 1-7 years old
  • Healthy
  • Socially forward (friendly) or neutral disposition
  • Spayed or neutered


Blood Donor Screening Appointment: Canine

Thorough screening of potential donors is necessary to ensure both the health of the blood donors and the quality of blood products for transfusion patients. During this one hour screening appointment, the temperament of the potential donor, as well as their overall physical condition, is evaluated to determine if he or she is a good candidate. Suitable canine donor candidates then undergo additional testing which involves collecting blood, urine samples, fecal samples and an exam by one of SVS’ staff veterinarians. The blood type of the donor candidate is also identified during this initial appointment.  This will determine whether or not they can be enrolled in SVS’ Canine Blood Donor Program.  If their blood type is DEA 1.1 positive, they will not be entered into the program. A DEA 1.1 positive blood type is limiting in terms of who can safely receive this blood type as a donation.  If they are typed as DEA 1.1 negative, however, they can be enrolled into the program.  A blood sample from DEA 1.1 negative candidates will then be sent to the University of California, Davis for additional detailed blood typing and antibody screening, which generally takes about 1-2 weeks.   Once the test results are received, SVS’ Blood Bank Manager will contact you to schedule your first donation.  SVS will also inform your regular veterinarian that your pet has enrolled in the SVS Blood Donor Program and all test results will be forwarded to your veterinarian for their records. The physical exam and all tests are complimentary (valued at $600).




Blood Donation Process: Canine

All blood donations take place at SVS’ state-of-the-art 24-hour specialty and emergency hospital in Kirkland. Typically, you will drop off your dog at SVS pet blood bank for the day or half day, depending on your schedule.  Prior to blood donation, the donor’s PCV (packed cell volume) will be checked to ensure they can safely donate blood. Blood donor dogs are administered a sedative to make them as comfortable as possible during the blood collection procedure.  The donation takes place while they are lying on their side on padded blankets and pillows.  Typically, 450 ml (about one pint) of blood is collected under sterile conditions.  The entire collection process takes about 5-15 minutes.  After the donation, donor dogs receive subcutaneous fluids to replace the volume collected as well as LASER treatment at the blood collection site to facilitate healing and reduce bruising.  This, of course, is all in addition to lots of treats, a warm blanket, a bed to nap on in a quiet spot, attention and affection.  While blood collection is a very a safe procedure, your Canine Superhero will go home with discharge instructions detailing what you should expect post-donation (i.e., short term lethargy, etc.) and what your Superhero should be doing post-donation (rest, rest and rest!).



                            Superhero Canine Blood Donor, Kegan

General Requirements for Blood Donors: Feline

  • Weigh at least 10 lbs
  • Between 1-7 years old
  • Healthy
  • Spayed or neutered
  • Live indoors

Blood Donor Screening Appointment: Feline

Cats also undergo a blood donor screening appointment to assess their health, temperament and to identify their blood type.  There are 3 feline blood types:  A, B and AB.  Type A is the most common, especially here in the Pacific Northwest where over 80% of cats are Type A.  Type B is not as common as Type A and is in high demand.  The third blood type, AB, is quite rare as it occurs in less than 1% of the population of domestic cats.  Fortunately, cats that are Type AB can receive a donation of Type A blood if Type AB is unavailable.  If it is determined that your cat is a good candidate for blood donation, SVS will inform your regular veterinarian that your pet has enrolled in the SVS Feline Blood Donor Program and all test results will be forwarded to your veterinarian for their records.  The physical exam and all tests are complimentary (valued at $600).

Superhero Feline Blood Donor, Sprocket.

Blood Donation Process: Feline

All donations take place at SVS pet blood bank in Kirkland. The blood donation process for cats is very similar to that of dogs. Prior to donation, the feline donor’s PCV is checked to ensure it is safe for them to donate blood.  Depending on the temperament of the feline donor, they may be sedated or anesthetized during the donation.  The blood collection process takes about 20 min during which time a total of 53 mls is collected.  After the donation, feline donors under anesthesia are recovered under the care of a Licensed Veterinary Technician.  Donors will receive subcutaneous fluids to replace the volume collected as well as LASER treatment at the blood collection site to promote healing and reduce bruising. Just like canines, your Feline Superhero will receive treats, a warm blanket and quiet place to rest after donating.  Feline Superheroes will also go home with discharge instructions detailing what you should expect post-donation.

Blood Donor Benefits:

  • Initial comprehensive physical exam, blood chemistry panel & blood typing (valued at $600)
  • PCV assessment prior to each donation
  • Regular SVS Blood Donors (donating at least 4 times/year) are eligible to receive blood products at no charge if the need every arises
  • Joy and gratification knowing you and your Canine or Feline Superhero are helping many patients in need and saving lives!

What happens to the donated blood?

The whole blood collected from donors is processed right here in SVS’ Reference Quality Laboratory, established by Dr. Sally Lester and currently headed by Dr. Audrey Baldessari, both double-boarded Pathologists (Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists, Anatomic and Clinical). The blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate the red cells from the plasma.  Canine donations of 450 mls yield 2 units of packed red blood cells and 2 units of fresh frozen plasma and feline donations of 53 mls yield 1 unit of packed red blood cells and 1 unit of fresh frozen plasma or 1 unit of whole blood.  Since both red blood cells and plasma blood products are needed for sick or injured dogs and cats, one blood donation can potentially help four patients in need!  Blood products are safely stored at SVS pet blood bank.  Packed red blood cells are refrigerated for up to 30 days.  Plasma, on the other hand, can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year (fresh frozen plasma) and 5 years thereafter (frozen plasma).




Donated blood products benefit SVS patients and, under emergency circumstances, patients in need at other veterinary hospitals in the community.  Blood products are used to treat a variety of conditions. Red blood cells are needed in cases of anemia (low red blood cell count), hemorrhage from injury or blood loss during surgery, as well as autoimmune disorders such as Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA). Plasma contains many proteins, some of which facilitate blood clotting.  Plasma transfusions are used to treat conditions such as hemophilia A (an inherited coagulation disorder), accidental rodent poisoning, as well as protein-losing states (acute renal failure, pancreatitis, liver disease, etc.).




Contact us

If you have any questions about SVS’ Blood Donor Program, our pet blood bank, or are interested in joining, please contact SVS’ Blood Bank Coordinator, Amiellia at 425.823.9111 or email:

Superhero Canine Blood Donor, Riley.  Over the years, Riley has helped to save the lives of numerous dogs in need.

Thank you Riley!

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