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Posted: 15th April 2024

Blood donation service celebrates 20th anniversary
The team has been celebrating the anniversary.
The RVC’s programme has helped pets and supported research.

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is celebrating 20 years of its blood donation programme, which has helped save the lives of thousands of dogs and cats.

The service, which provides donated blood products to animals being treated at the RVC’s Small Animal Referral Hospital, was established in 2004. The first cohort of donors was made up of 19 dogs. Twenty years later, the service now has 150 dogs and 62 cats which regularly donate.

In addition to helping pets, the service has also been the focus of research carried out by the RVC into topics including the welfare of donors, using dog blood to help cats, and the storage of cat blood. This has led to the RVC becoming the only organisation in the UK to store feline blood products.

As it marks the anniversary, the RVC’s charity, the Animal Care Trust, has launched an appeal to raise £150,000 towards new purpose-built blood donor facilities. The planned facilities will include separate areas for dog and cat donors, as well as space for a laboratory to process and store the donated blood products.

Dan Chan, professor of emergency and critical care medicine at the RVC, said: “I've seen first-hand how blood donations help pets every single day and the ground-breaking clinical treatment and expert care that is provided at the hospital.
“Thanks to our special donors, blood transfusions have saved thousands of lives at the RVC over the last two decades and there are many more in need of help. Therefore, this appeal is essential in allowing us to expand and enhance our current facilities to ensure even more cats and dogs can be treated.

“Anything you donate will be hugely appreciated and help us to achieve this important goal.”

Donations to the charity can be made online.

Image © Royal Veterinary College

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