Doggy Blood Donations & Treating Cancer

doggy blood donations

In part 2 of our series on dog blood donations, we look at how donated dog blood helps with cancer treatment.

Blood transfusions ease the stress of chemotherapy for dogs: “[The] best thing is that blood can be a bridge to support the patient pre-chemotherapy, during chemotherapy, or post-chemotherapy,” Beth Knight, lab director for the Canadian Animal Blood Bank’s Winnipeg location explains.

“Often chemo is aggressive on [a dog’s] system, and while they’re battling and taking out other things, [it] takes out healthy red [blood] cells as well. Having a blood transfusion beforehand while battling cancer can mitigate that issue. If the dog’s body forgets to make its own red cells, it can become quite anemic. If the vet support team thinks it’s a better or more suitable option, they may do a transfusion before they even do chemotherapy – so the patient is well supported during their treatment.”

While dogs can only donate 450 mL of blood at a time, the amount needed for a transfusion varies depending on the status of the patient. The vet support team can determine how many red blood cells the patient currently has and how many its missing.

“Like topping [something] up, you don’t want to overfill them [with too many red blood cells], but just make it a nice smooth transition and get them perked up a bit so they can manage their treatment plan easier,” said Knight.

Knight explains that dog breed does not affect the blood type but size does play a factor. A dog must be at least 55 lbs to donate. Knight lists several dog breeds in particular that make for great donors including:

  • Boxers
  • Bully breeds
  • Dobermans
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Greyhounds
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • Newfoundlands
  • Siberian Huskies

For more informations about dog blood donation clinic dates and bookings visit

Check out Part 1 in our series on Doggy Blood Donations to learn the basics of dog blood donation and whether or not your furry friend is a candidate to donate.

Do you have any other questions about dog blood donations? Or questions for Beth Knight about the Canadian Animal Blood Bank? Reach out to us today at!

The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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