Melbourne Veterinary Hospital seeking canine blood donors

18 March 2014

The Canine Blood Bank at the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital is seeking large-breed dogs as potential new blood donors to save sick or injured dogs.

University of Melbourne Veterinary School students with black lab
Study vet medicine at Melbourne

As in humans, blood transfusions are of vital importance for the survival of many sick or critically injured dogs. The Canine Blood Bank, is a not-for-profit organization, supplies life-saving blood products to veterinary hospitals across Australia.

Dr Manuel Boller, head of the Canine Blood Bank said, “The Canine Blood Bank has been operating for over twenty years and the veterinary emergency hospitals use blood products routinely, but we are struggling to fulfill the need. The contribution of pet owners volunteering their dogs to donate blood is of key importance. Blood transfusions are such an irreplaceable life-line for many injured dogs. We simply wouldn’t be able to save as many Australian canine patients without this resource. We hope the community will come forward with their dogs.”

For a dog to be a potential blood donor she/he needs to

  • be between one and five years old and weigh more than 25 kg;
  • have a good temperament (to be able to lie still for 10 to 15 minutes);
  • never have travelled outside of Victoria;
  • be fit and healthy and not on any medications; and
  • be up to date on all vaccinations and deworming and never have received a blood transfusion.

The home of the Canine Blood Bank is the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Melbourne. The hospital runs one of the first centres for veterinary emergency and critical care in the country. It’s emergency room is staffed to see sick pets 24/7 every day of the year, and consequently uses blood products on an almost daily basis.

Case study 1: “Aerem” the Airedale was diagnosed with disease where the immune system starts to destroy the body’s red blood cells. His red blood cell count was so low that he was not able to walk and was very ill. He required several transfusions over the subsequent week to increase his red blood cell number until the medications became effective to halt further destruction of red blood cells. He walked out of hospital with a wagging tail.

Case study 2: Dr Manuel Boller said, “Just recently we had a case where “Koda,” a very young Burmese mountain dog, was admitted with severe abdominal bleeding. This would have been a fatal condition without blood transfusions. Koda’s family were spared the grief a loss of a new family as Koda was able to return home the following day.”

University of Melbourne Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program

Program title: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: Late February/early March
Program duration: 4 years
Application deadline: While the general application deadline for the Melbourne DVM is December each year, international candidates are strongly encouraged to apply no later than October 30 to allow adequate time for making any necessary travel or visa arrangements. Please note this program can fill quickly.

Start your application to Melbourne Veterinary School!


Discover more about the Melbourne DVM. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Veterinary Schools Admissions Officer at for more info!