(Note - some people may prefer not to view this story as it contains photographs of an actual blood donation; please choose not to read it if you are uncomfortable with the sight of syringes and blood).
Meet Bandit, a beautiful black and white cat. He fell out of his 8th floor apartment window and broke both of his front legs, and injured his face. He lost a lot of blood, and requires a blood transfusion because his red blood cell level is very low.
Before a donor can be called in to donate blood for Bandit, we have to determine his blood type. This card was used for his blood typing. His blood type is A , as indicated by the stippled smear of blood.
Kermode, a 5 year old, DSH Siamese cross was chosen from our donor pool because his blood type matched Bandit’s. He has not given blood for at least 3 months. Kermode has donated blood 2 times in the past. Dr. Cooper is holding Kermode. He has a great personality and is calm, cool and collected when at the veterinary hospital.
Kermode has a full physical exam to make sure he is currently healthy. We take a tiny blood sample to confirm his red blood cell count is "up to snuff". This test determines Packed Cell Volume and Total Solids (PCV/TS). These same tests were used to tell us that the patient, Bandit required a donation as he did not have enough red blood cells.
Kermode has been given the OK to donate blood. His examination and blood tests all show that he is healthy. Kermode has three areas shaven: his neck, where the needle is placed for the blood collection, his paw, (where his blood pressure is measured during and after the procedure) and his leg (where an iv is placed). I.V. fluids are needed to replace the blood that is taken. These fluids will be given to him during the procedure and after the procedure. This picture shows Kermode being given some “Happy Drugs” to sedate him so that he is calm and doesn't wriggle during the procedure.
Each syringe contains anticoagulant. A small needle (butterfly needle) is placed in the jugular vein. The butterfly needle has a small tubing that is attached to a syringe. The blood is drawn up into the syringes and is mixed with the anticoagulant. When each syringe is full a new syringe is connected.
In this picture there are three people with Kermode during the procedure. Michelle is on the left and is giving him extra oxygen through a face mask. When cats are given sedation they continue to breathe on their own.
Dita is a veterinary technician. She is drawing the blood from Kermode’s neck. She holds the butterfly needle in place with one hand and draws the blood slowly with the other hand (the procedure takes 15 minutes).
In the background you can see Dr. Cooper taking Kermode’s blood pressure. She is making sure that, as we draw the blood, his blood pressure stays steady. If his blood pressure drops, Dita will slow down the collection process.
Because Kermode will not take the initiative to blink while he is sedated, gel was placed in his eyes to keep them moist.
This is the total amount of blood drawn from Kermode, approximately 50mls. Kermode is given oxygen until his sedation wears off, usually a minute or two after the donation is complete. Pressure is applied to the vein in his neck for about 3 minutes after the donation to prevent any bleeding or bruising. Once he is fully awake, he will be given the remainder of his replacement fluids and then his IV will be taken out. He can go home as soon as he is steady on his feet, usually a matter of less than 3 hours post-donation.
Kermode's blood is transfused through a filter into Bandit's iv catheter. This life saving blood will help to stabilize Bandit by improving his blood pressure and by helping get oxygen to his tissues.