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Blood bank for dogs opens in Calif.

February 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
We often hear about blood shortages and the need for blood drives. Here's a new one -- a blood donor program for dogs.Twelve-year-old Cara Benson got to thinking -- if she's so close to her golden retriever, Reno, other families must feel the same about their pet.

"He's just like a little brother to me. I just don't know what life would be like without him being in our house," said Cara.

To help more families save their pets, Cara became one of the first to give the gift of life by signing up her pet as a donor to a unique blood bank for dogs starting up at the U.C. Davis Veterinary Hospital.

While Reno spends the next couple months being cleared health-wise, there are already other dogs lining up to donate.

It turns out that even dogs don't like needles.

With demand for dog blood rising every year, donor dogs used to have to live at the hospital, ready to give. Now, U.C. Davis hopes to become the largest blood bank for dogs west of the Mississippi, where vets can request any one of the 13 blood types at no cost.

"To know we played a vital role in helping to return a family member home, that's success," said Sean Owens, D.V.M., with the U.C. Davis Veterinary Hospital.

Canine officer Walter Broussard lives with the constant threat of criminals shooting his patrol dog, Grim.

"The chances of a K-9 dog surviving with a blood bank, a large blood bank that has different blood types, it's going to be high," said Broussard. "It's going to be really high for any dog that needs a blood transfusion."

And that's what Cara was hoping for.

"They can have a better chance of surviving with the blood my dog donated," said Cara.

 

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