Page 4 - Description and Evaluation of a Canine Volunteer Blood Donor Program
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the donation process was strongly encouraged. Phlebotomy was performed using
standard phlebotomy equipment (Baxter, Inc., Deerfield, IL; or Terumo, Inc.,
Somerset, NJ). Donors were provided with encouragement and reassurance dur-
ing the donation process and treats afterward. The donation process and in-
formed consent process were approved by the managing board of the blood
bank, with input from the medical directors and members of the community.
This retrospective study was approved by the blood bank’s institutional review

Infectious disease testing was performed in-house for Lyme disease (B.
burgdorferi) antibody, E. canis antibody, and heartworm (D. immitis) antigen using
a commercially available test (IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., Westbrook, ME).
Serological tests for other diseases (E. platys, B. canis, and Leptospira serotypes
Bratislava, Canicola, Gryppotyphosa, Hardjo, Ictero, Pomona) were performed by
an outside laboratory (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA). Blood typing
for Dog Erythrocyte Antigen (DEA) 1.1 was performed in-house using a commer-
cially available card-testing system (DMS Laboratories, Inc., Flemington, NJ).

During the enrollment period for this study, there were no published standards
for infectious disease testing or blood typing available for animal blood banks.
Blood banks screened for infectious diseases thought to be prevalent in their geo-
graphic region, so test panels differed considerably depending on the region in
which the blood bank operated. Although there was no firm agreement on the fre-
quency of testing required, the other major blood banks conducting community
donor programs were also performing annual screening of donors. An interval his-
tory was taken at each repeat donation; a full rescreening was done on dogs who
had shown any signs of clinical illness since the last donation.

Blood-typing practices varied widely among the different blood banks. There is
universal agreement that the DEA 1.1 blood type can cause significant transfusion
reactions; however, although several other canine blood types have been identified,
their exact clinical significance is unclear (Giger, 2005; Hale, 2004). The policies of
the various blood banks range from screening only for DEA 1.1 blood type to accept-
ing only so-called universal donors into donation programs. A similar situation ex-
ists in human medicine, where prescreening of recipients for blood type antigens
known to cause serious reactions (the ABO and Rh blood groups) is performed for
every patient who receives a transfusion, whereas the compatibility of minor anti-
gens (e.g., those of the M, N, and MN blood groups) is not routinely assessed.


Ninety-eight potential donors were screened over the enrollment period. Of
these, 14 were disqualified during the screening process for a variety of reasons
including the following:
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