Getting blood from dogs? Easy! But cats? Not so much.
Getting blood from dogs? Easy! But cats? Not so much. Paula Hackett talks with her dog Tosey, a 5-year-old Great Dane, inside the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school's animal bloodmobile
Getting blood from dogs? Easy! But cats? Not so much.
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Dogs giving blood? Sure! But cats? Not so much.

If man's best friend is a dog, then who is a dog's best friend? That would be Rover. Or Glow. Or Ivan or Raina.

The four canines recently donated precious pints of blood to their fellow pooches. And they did it without having to travel far from home: They visited an animal bloodmobile.

Similar to the Red Cross vehicles for humans, the University of Pennsylvania's traveling veterinary lab goes to where the donors are to make it easier to give.

"You don't really think about it until you actually need it," said Kym Marryott, manager of Penn's Animal Blood Bank. "Just like in people, dogs need blood too."

Officials at Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine said they don't know of any other animal bloodmobiles operating in the U.S. Theirs makes weekly rounds through suburban Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Dogs must have the correct blood type, weigh at least 55 pounds and be younger than 8 years old. Owners volunteer their pet for the short procedure, which requires no sedation.

However, Marryott said it's the dog that ultimately chooses to lie still and give.

"If (the dog) wanted to get up and leave, he could," said Marryott. "But they're really good about it, they trust their owner."

About 150 dogs participate in the program. Each donates three or four pints a year, which can help animals suffering from illnesses like cancer or an accidental trauma like being hit by a car. One pint can save up to three dogs.

Sandy Lucas brought her 7-year-old black German shepherd to the bloodmobile last week, when it was parked at a strip mall in Harleysville about 14 miles from her home.

The Pottstown, Pennsylvania, resident said she wouldn't have braved highway traffic and city parking problems to take the dog to Penn Vet's animal hospital in downtown Philadelphia, which is twice as far. But the bloodmobile made it convenient to find out if Raina could donate, she said.

"I was very, very thrilled that she had the right blood that was needed to help another dog out," said Lucas. "We'll definitely do it again."

Just like people, the furry donors get a snack and a heart-shaped "U of P Blood Donor" sticker immediately after giving. In addition, they receive free blood screenings and dog food to take home.

And what about a catmobile? Perhaps not surprisingly, felines are bit less cooperative. They need to be sedated in order to give blood, so Penn does that only at its animal hospital.

Critical thinking challenge: Why does the bloodmobile make collecting blood easier?

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  • Kearstanwalker
    5/15/2014 - 08:43 a.m.

    The blood mobile makes collecting blood easier by bringing it to you. They also make giving blood easier . It also says that they go to mobiles and it makes it easier for them to donate,

  • Hailey33301
    5/15/2014 - 09:48 a.m.

    This is so cute!! Oh my gosh the dogs are helping the other dogs get blood when they need it. This is a great idea.

  • AmberMadison
    5/15/2014 - 10:26 a.m.

    I think its goof that dogs can give blood and save another dogs life, but cats on the other hand has to be sedated to be able to give blood.

  • jojogarcia
    5/15/2014 - 11:00 a.m.

    I think the bloodmobile makes collecting blood easier because they need the blood for other animals. Also because they don't want the blood givers traveling far from home. I find it interesting that dogs are willing to donate blood but cats are not.

  • jcoloniglesias
    5/15/2014 - 11:06 a.m.

    I think that is pretty cool that dogs can give blood and how 1 pint of blood an save up to three dogs. Also I think that its funny that the cats have to be sedated just for them to give blood. But when i told some people a Friend said that he would not ant other peoples blood in him.

  • anessiacurrie
    5/15/2014 - 11:08 a.m.

    You don't have to travel far from home. You can visit an animal bloodmobile. The traveling veterinary lab goes to where the doners are to make it easier to give blood.

  • hunterl335827
    5/15/2014 - 11:25 a.m.

    why would you get blood from cats and dogs well if they have the same blood type then i think it would be ok if they have the same blood type and that is all i have to say about this so ya good bye

  • aliciap
    5/15/2014 - 03:13 p.m.

    wow that is so cool and awesome how these dogs are helping each other by giving blood to other pets and i wish that this would continue with the world because this is helpful to the pets

  • McAl-axolotl
    5/15/2014 - 03:46 p.m.

    It takes the blood-donation lab to the people essentially. People who don't have methods of transportation can't donate blood, so the what's better than bringing the lab to the people!

  • Nord-wolves
    5/15/2014 - 04:13 p.m.

    They make it easier so it can be easier on everybody from workers to animals. Because it reduses stress for both of them, and that is something everything wants.

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