MADISON (WKOW) -- When our loved ones get sick, we all want to know the resources are available to make them better. That applies to four legged members of the family too.
Many of the dedicated employees at Veterinary Emergency Service have a dedicated dog or cat too, that provides a vital resource.
"I get to see the end result. I get to know, I can follow the case along and know how the dog's doing the received his blood, which is rewarding," VES Surgery Technician Melissa Lang says about her dog's donations. The black lab has been taking part in the animal hospital's program for about three years.
"Sometimes the owners are a little surprised that, 'oh my dog, we can have a blood transfusion and there's donor animals for that?," she says.
All of VES' cats and dogs that give blood belong to employees. It provides easy access to population that supplies blood to their patients.
"Several weeks ago, I actually rushed home to grab my cat to be a blood donor because we didn't have any available," VES Critical Care Specialist Dr. Tom Day says.
The University of Wisconsin Small Animal Hospital has a fleet of 23 cats and dogs. Like VES, they must meet a number of criteria.
"Much like when you or I go to the Red Cross to give blood, they're gonna test our blood periodically for infectious diseases, we also do that for dogs, a different list of infections but we test them annually," UW Veterinary School Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Critical Care Jonathan Bach says.
"We do run into shortages and that's part of the challenge of trying to maintain an adequate donor population," Bach says.
Through donation programs, veterinarians have to rely on the animals to make sure their patients get the best care possible.
"It's just really rewarding to know that for 10 minutes of my dogs time that he can possibly save the life of another dog," Lang says.
While VES only uses their employees pets, UW does take help from the public. For more information on their program, click here.
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