On Wednesday, Morden hosted the Canadian Animal Blood Bank at the local veterinary clinic. During this visit, nine dogs donated blood, contributing to a strong cause that has far-reaching benefits for dogs across Canada.

“The procedure involves owners bringing their dogs in, where we'll do a weight check and take a preliminary sample to ensure they have enough red cells and no underlying issues. We also conduct free heartworm and tick testing for our donors. Once everything checks out, we collect the blood through the jugular vein, which dogs tolerate quite well," said Michael Philippot, central operations manager with the Canadian Animal Blood Bank.

Each unit of blood collected from these canine donors has the potential to save up to four other dogs, providing essential life-saving support in emergencies and medical treatments. The process benefits both the recipient dogs and the donors. Should a donor dog ever need a blood transfusion in its lifetime, it is entitled to a free unit of blood component for every unit it has donated.

Tim Hodge, who brought in his dog Tux, who is a universal blood donor, emphasized the importance of canine blood donation. “We think it's important for everyone to give blood. The whole process takes maybe 15 minutes. It's super quick and easy. Michael and his staff are really great. It's something that's really important that I think a lot of people aren't aware of.”

The donation process is straightforward and handled with care to ensure the comfort and safety of the canine donors. It involves shaving and cleaning a small area on the dog’s neck to access the jugular vein, from which approximately one pint (450 ml) of blood is collected. This procedure is safe, and dogs can donate blood once every three months.

Samantha Wiebe, a receptionist and assistant, shared her personal experience with her dog, a rescue who donated blood throughout his life and later needed a transfusion himself. “He was a universal donor, so a lot of his blood went towards saving those in emergencies. When he needed a transfusion, he got a free bag from the Canadian Animal Blood Bank. It was a relief and made me realize how important it was.”

To qualify as a donor, dogs must meet specific health and eligibility criteria: they should be healthy, up-to-date with vaccinations, between 1-8 years of age, and weigh at least 55 lbs. 

The contributions of these nine dogs will help save countless lives, highlighting the importance of four-legged friends in medical emergencies.