New RVC awards for cat and dog blood donors

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is celebrating hero cats and dogs who have taken part in its Blood Donor Programme by awarding ‘Blood Donor of the Year’ awards to two of its regular donors, Bertie and Atticus.

The programme has helped hundreds of animals involved in serious accidents, surgeries or suffering from serious diseases.

The awards recognised the contribution Bertie and Atticus have made in helping to save countless lives and will be presented to them and their owners on 14 June – World Blood Donor Day.

Bertie, a nine-year-old Golden Retriever, has been a vital part of the RVC’s Blood Donor Programme for the last eight years. He has a similar blood type to 60% of dogs in the UK (type DEA 1 Positive), and has kindly donated over 22 units to the RVC’s small animal referral hospital. Blood provided by Bertie and other canine donors has been used for over 600 blood transfusions each year at the RVC. He is retiring this year and to note his contribution he has been awarded the ‘Canine Donor of the Year’.

Bertie’s owner, Chris said: “I’ve always been a blood donor myself, so I really wanted my dog to help others like I do. I was around when Bertie was born, and he’s always been very calm. I think that helps make him such a good donor.”

Atticus, a four-year-old cat, has also played an important role in the RVC’s Blood Donor Programme since joining in 2016. The nine units of blood supplied by Atticus is blood type A, which is similar to 75% of cats in the UK. The RVC administers over 130 feline blood transfusions per year. In recognition, Atticus will be supplied with a ‘Feline Donor of the Year’ award.

Atticus’ owner, Olivia added: “My first involvement with animal blood donations was through my work with Peaceful Pets – a charity for retired greyhounds. I got to know the RVC hospital team and then I brought Atticus along to donate after they explained how important feline blood donations are to their work. He becomes extra affectionate after each donation – I love it.”

On this global awareness day, the RVC – which currently runs Europe’s busiest animal hospital blood donor programme – also thanks the hundreds of other animals who have provided blood that has saved lives. They also encourage more cat and dog donors to come forward.

The programme was created in 2005 in response to high levels of demand for dog and cat blood. This demand, which continually increases year on year, is important given the variety and complexities of the treatments offered at the RVC. For example, treatments range from open-heart surgery to emergency and critical care, and from spinal surgery to cancer treatment.

Dominic Barfield, senior lecturer in veterinary emergency and critical care at the RVC, said: “Blood saves lives, literally. We are indebted to the kindness and generosity of those wonder dogs and super cats and the fabulous people that look after them, as their gift of a blood donation means that other pets can live. We cannot thank them enough and our RVC blood donor team who make it all possible.”

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