Animal hospitals faced with low blood supply, storage are using on-call dog and cat blood donors

Blood banks are short-staffed, more adoptions lately
dog blood donor
Posted at 4:18 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 19:41:28-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's getting harder to come by blood products for sick dogs and cats.

Understaffed animal blood banks and the increase in cat and dog adoptions during the pandemic are causing shortages in local supply.

Employees at Nashville Veterinary Specialist and Animal Emergency volunteer their pets to be on-call to donate. Right now, Dr. Whitney Long says she can really only count on her colleagues and their pets for donations.

"It's nice that we have people that are willing to do that, wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes they have to work the next day," said Long.

Animal blood banks all over the country that the hospital buys from are not keeping up with the demand.

"We're seeing a lot more patients coming through the ER and that's typically the patients that need the blood product," Long said.

On top of that, there isn't an animal blood bank in Middle Tennessee. That's something doctors and staff would like to establish when they're out of this crisis.

"I mean it would be great to have a blood bank, but it's just not something at this moment that we have the staff and the equipment to do," said Becky Dan, marketing and community outreach manager. "It would be great to have a blood bank program, community program, someday."

Currently, dogs and cats in the community can't give blood as the hospital doesn't have the available storage.