The Upstate Blood Bank

The Upstate Blood Bank

The Upstate Vet blood bank relies on our dog and cat donors and their owners to help us provide this invaluable resource.

Becoming a Donor

Pets can require life-saving blood transfusions for many of the same reasons humans do, such as injuries, surgeries, or when diseases cause the body to destroy its own blood cells.

The number of cats and dogs in need of blood transfusions has grown as the pet population continues to increase. Upstate Vet, with the help of its donors, would like to meet this ever-increasing demand to help save the community’s critically injured and ill pet population. Your pet’s donation is the gift of life to these pets and their owners. Will you allow your pet to help save a life?

Are you interested in allowing your pet to help save lives by donating blood?

Get Started


What are the benefits of being a blood donor?

  • A full annual physical exam by a licensed veterinarian
  • Annual complete blood work, at no cost to the owner, including (shared with regular veterinarian):
  • Complete blood cell count
  • Full chemistry
  • Infectious disease screening
  • Blood typing
  • Donation appreciation gifts for you and your pet!
  • Treats and loving attention with each donation
  • The satisfaction that comes in knowing that your pet is helping to save lives of other pets with each donation


Eligibility Requirements

To become a blood donor, a pet must be:

  • Healthy, friendly, and with good temperament
  • Between 1 and 8 years old for dogs and 1 and 10 years old for cats
  • Spayed/neutered
  • In good physical condition
  • Current on vaccinations
  • Dogs must weigh at least 50 pounds (but not be obese)
  • Cats must weigh at least 10 pounds and be indoors only
  • Have no history of prior transfusions or pregnancy
  • Are taking no medications except heartworm, flea preventative, or thyroid medications
  • Negative for infections, diseases, and parasites
  • Able to donate at least 3 times a year


What to expect

  • After we receive your potential donor request form, a member of our team will contact you. If your pet is eligible, we will schedule your first appointment for your pet to receive a free brief veterinary exam where a small amount of blood is drawn for typing and testing.
  • If the results of the blood screening show your pet is able to donate, an appointment is made for prospective donors to return for their first blood donation.
  • At each donation, a brief examination is performed prior to donating and a small patch of hair is shaved from your pet’s neck.
  • For dogs, the entire process takes approximately 30 minutes, which includes time for the exam, donation, and treats and affection from the staff. If your pet is excited or unable to sit still for the duration of the donation, a mild sedative may be administered.
  • Cat donations require short-acting anesthetic, so their appointments are drop-off appointments. The donation process takes up to four hours, which includes sedation, donation, recovery from sedation, and treats. You will be notified when your pet is ready to be picked up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you interested in allowing your pet to help save lives by donating blood?  Please contact us at with questions or to become a donor.

Due to the high cost of screening each prospective donor, your pet is asked to commit to at least three donations in a 12-month time period.

Most dogs are able to sit still for their donation without problem. On the rare occasion a dog is excitable or unable to sit still, a mild sedation may be used to aid in the donation process. Cats do better during the donation process with a short-acting anesthetic. They are carefully monitored during the sedation and are only asleep for 25-30 minutes.

The donation process is quick and painless for your pets. Each pet will have a small shaved area on the neck, which will be scrubbed with antibacterial scrub before each donation. The most common side effect is bruising at the site of collection, but that usually goes away within three to four days. The amount of blood taken from your pet is not enough to alter your pet’s health because the body replaces red cells that are taken naturally.

Each dog donates approximately 450 mLs (equal to one pint or two cups) at the time of donation. Each cat donates approximately 50 mLs (about two ounces) at the time of the donation. Fluid loss in cats will be replaced by administration of subcutaneous fluids. Dogs can donate safely every six weeks while cats can donate safely every 8 weeks.

Dogs have a numbered blood typing system called Dog Erythrocyte Antigen (DEA) system. DEA 1.1 is the main blood type, which dogs can be positive or negative. DEA 1.1 negative is a universal blood type and is safe to be given to any other dog. Cats have three different blood types: A, B, and AB. Type A is the most common with type B found in about 5% of the population. Type AB is very rare. There is no universal blood type for cats.

Just like in humans, animals need transfusions for many situations such as trauma, ingestions of poisons, surgical complications, or immune problems that cause destruction of their own blood cells.

As the pet population in our area continues to increase, the demands for pet blood products also increase. With volunteer donations we can help meet this increasing need in our community. The biggest benefit is knowing that you and your pet are helping to save the life of a pet. One donation can save multiple pet lives because the donation can be divided into several components, which can be used for multiple pets.

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