Page 1 - Description and Evaluation of a Canine Volunteer Blood Donor Program
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Copyright © 2006, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Description and Evaluation of a Canine
Volunteer Blood Donor Program

Lawrence A. DeLuca, Sharon G. Glass,
and Richard E. Johnson

Sun States Animal Blood Bank
Wilton Manors, Florida

Melissa Burger

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Miami, Florida

Human volunteer blood donor programs are commonplace, but the concept of nonhu-
man animal blood banking is relatively new. Few studies exist regarding efficacy, do-
nor screening, and safety for volunteer companion animals. This retrospective study
evaluated a nonprofit, community-based canine volunteer donor program using com-
munity blood drives. Of 98 potential donors, 14 were ineligible to donate, including 4
who tested seropositive for blood-borne pathogens. Of 84 donors, 45 were Dog Eryth-
rocyte Antigen (DEA) 1.1 positive and 39 were DEA 1.1 negative. Donations totaling
143 included 29 repeat donors (35%). No serious adverse events occurred. Minor ad-
verse events included acute donor reaction (2.8%), hematoma (4.2%), rebleeding
(2.1%), and skin irritation (0.7%). Adverse event rates were comparable to data for
human blood donations. A substantial fraction of donors donated multiple times, sug-
gesting that volunteer donors and their guardians perceived the donation process to be
safe and effective. This article discusses the issue of donor consent and use of the term
volunteer. This study indicates that nonprofit, community-based canine volunteer do-
nor programs for animal blood banks can be successful while maintaining high safety
standards and ethical treatment of volunteers.

Advances in veterinary medicine have frequently paralleled those in human
medicine, and transfusion therapy is no exception. Improvements in safety and

Correspondence should be sent to Lawrence A. DeLuca EdD, MD, Sun States: Blood Banks for Animals,
PO Box 1234, Sahuarita AZ 85629-1004. Email:
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