In times of medical emergency, a blood transfusion can mean the difference between life and death, but what happens when the patient is your pet?
Dr. Jarod Williams with Ozark Veterinary Specialty Care said Arkansas is lagging behind much of the country when it comes to veterinary medicine, but he’s working on a project to bring the state into the 21st century.
“It’s modeled after a human blood bank,” Williams explained.
Williams is working to establish the first blood bank for companion animals in the state of Arkansas.
“We use pets from the community and we have them voluntarily come in, there’s a selection process and a screening process and they come in to donate blood periodically to be used in emergency situations and critical care,” Williams said.
Just like humans, cats and dogs often need transfusions when they’re suffering from a major trauma, infection or cancer.
“When a patient needs blood or plasma, there’s not a substitute for it,” Williams said.
The project is several months in the making and there is still work to do.
“We are still in the donor drive process where we’re organizing, we’re collecting donors, we’re screening,” Williams explained.
But he hopes with the support of the community, he can have hte blood bank up and running by late fall.
“A lot of people are excited about it, you know a lot of them have had similar experiences where their animals have needed intensive care and advanced care,” he said.
Williams said having a local blood bank can also significantly reduce the cost of healthcare for four legged friends.