A canine blood bank planned for Salt Lake City will offer financial incentives for owners of donor dogs. But veterinarian Adam Petersen who started Canine Blood Heroes in Idaho and is expanding to Utah said most participants have altruistic motives.
"The vast majority of owners are more interested in saving lives," Petersen said.
Organizers of the blood bank will conduct a clinic Saturday in Salt Lake City to screen dogs for the program, testing their blood type and health. The program runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Advanced Veterinary Care, 1021 E. 3300 South.
There are many canine blood types, and certain breeds have a higher possibility of serving as donors, Petersen said. Greyhounds and other sighthounds, boxers, Doberman pinschers and pit bulls often fit the bill. Labradors and other retrievers usually do not have the right blood type, he said.
Eventually, for each blood draw, owners of participating dogs will receive a $50 credit for veterinary care, said Petersen.
A blood bank in Salt Lake City will provide veterinarians with faster access to blood and plasma, and it will reduce supply shortages, Petersen said. Only a few clinics in Utah stock blood and plasma and their supplies come primarily from Idaho and California.
Petersen's business in Idaho Falls, Idaho, supplies 30 to 40 businesses in Utah.
Veterinarians use the blood to treat a variety of ailments as well as trauma cases, such as when a dog is hit by a vehicle.
Blood transfusions, however, are rare, mostly because of the cost, said Vaughn Park, owner of Park Animal Hospital in Provo.
Once or twice a year Park's dog-owner clients will opt for transfusions, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
"Certainly, with the advanced treatment of animal diseases, a blood bank is something that is going to be a valuable asset," said Park, who is assistant associate director of the Utah Veterinary Medicine Association.
Petersen related the story of a miniature pinscher he treated at his Idaho clinic. The dog had ingested rat poison, and was "24 hours from death" before receiving transfusions. Within a few hours, the dog was revived.
"He's up, he's barking, he's full of life," Petersen said.
P Canine Blood Heroes will conduct a screening clinic Saturday for potential donors.
Breeds • Organizers are particularly interested in greyhounds and other sighthounds, boxers, Doberman pinschers and pit bulls.
When • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where • Advanced Veterinary Care, 1021 E. 3300 South.
Call • 208-346-2542 for an appointment.