Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank Collects Blood From Dogs in Montgomery County

By Nathan Carrick
Gazette Staff Writer
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cooper, a 5-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, was so excited to give blood at Sandy Spring Veterinary Hospital that he slid and spun on the linoleum floor past the door on his way to the room where the procedure is done.

"He really loves this," said Ann Schneider, a veterinarian and director of Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank.

Her organization travels to veterinary hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region about every other week to collect blood from volunteer dogs, working much the same way blood drives for humans work.

While some dogs can be nervous, Schneider said most of them calm down when she gives them plenty of treats. Many repeat donors even look forward to the experience, she said.

"We don't do dogs that are upset," she said. "We don't do biting or growling."

Each blood drive visit can attract from three to 25 donors, she said, and anything more than 15 is considered a good day.

"Dogs need blood just like people do," she said. "If owners love dogs and want to help other dogs, this is a great way to do it."

Cooper, who belongs to Norman Roskin, a veterinarian at Sandy Spring Veterinary Hospital, gives blood every time the blood bank visits.

The Severna Park-based Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank supplies more than half of all blood used by U.S. veterinary clinics.

With his tail wagging happily, Cooper nosed in assistant Dave Anderson's apron pocket for treats.

After conducting a brief physical examination, Anderson and Schneider lifted Cooper onto a table in the center of the room. Anderson lay on the table next to Cooper, draping his arms and legs over the dog to keep him stationary.

"It's a very loose hold," Schneider said, noting that it was a precaution meant to protect the patient.

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