24/7 care

Blood Bank

Blood collected through the MVS blood bank is used only at MVS. We do not ship or sell blood or blood products.

Why do pets need blood transfusions?

Pets sometimes need transfusions when they experience traumatic injuries, ingest poisons (such as rodenticides), or develop life-threatening illnesses or diseases. Pets may need transfusions of whole blood, packed red blood cells, or plasma.

Your pet can be a lifesaver

Your cat or dog can be a lifesaver for a sick or injured pet. Due to the traumatic and emergent cases we see, the demand for blood products is always high. We rely on the help of willing canine and feline volunteers to keep our blood supply steady and help those pets in need. Give your pet the chance to be a lifesaver!

The benefits of being a blood donor are:
  • Free yearly laboratory testing while in the blood donor program
  • Free yearly physical examination while in the blood donor program
  • Free blood or plasma transfusion if ever needed
  • A one-year supply of heartworm preventive
  • A one-year supply of flea and tick preventive
  • A 10% discount on professional services at MVS

We ask for all blood donors to:

  • Donate up to every 1 month (on average every 2-3 months)
  • Remain in the program for at least 2 years
  • Be available for emergency donations
  • Allow pictures of your cat or dog in various marketing and social media advertisements
Are blood donations safe?

In general, donating blood is very safe.  To ensure this safety, your pet will have to meet certain requirements to be a donor.  He or she will be thoroughly screened and examined before admission to the program.  Before every donation, an MVS veterinarian and technician will perform a complete physical exam.  Blood is collected in a sterile fashion similarly to how blood is collected from humans.  Your pet is closely monitored throughout the donation process to ensure there are no problems nor complications.

Can My Dog Donate?

Our canine lifesavers must have certain physical characteristics and meet certain requirements to be considered for the blood donor program. The requirements are:

  • Good disposition and able to tolerate venipuncture and restraint on his/her side
  • Weigh at least 50 pounds
  • No previous blood transfusions
  • Should be 1 to 8 years of age
  • Current on vaccinations for Adenovirus, Distemper, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus and Rabies.
  • On heartworm preventive
  • Should not be taking any medications that could pose a problem for a recipient
  • Have a normal physical exam on initial evaluation by MVS veterinarians

If your dog meets the above criteria, various laboratory tests will be performed to ensure his/her health status and the safety of the blood donor pool. These tests will be done at no cost to you. Some of these tests will be repeated yearly while a member of the blood donor program.

Laboratory evaluation includes:

  • Must have one of the two blood types that can be used for donations.
  • Normal complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis.
  • Negative result for the following infectious diseases: Anaplasma, Babesia, Brucellosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Heartworm Disease. (Leishmania and Trypanosomiasis based on breed and travel history.)
Can My Cat Donate?

Our feline lifesavers must have certain physical characteristics and meet certain requirements to be considered for the blood donor program. The requirements are:

  • Good disposition and able to tolerate venipuncture and restraint possibly with sedation or anesthesia
  • Weigh at least 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms)
  • No previous blood transfusions
  • Should be 1 to 8 years of age
  • Current on vaccinations for Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Rabies and Rhinotracheitis.
  • Should be an indoor cat
  • Should not be taking any medications that could pose a problem for a recipient
  • Have a normal physical exam on initial evaluation by MVS veterinarians

If your cat meets the above criteria, various laboratory tests will be performed to ensure his/her health status and the safety of the blood donor pool. These tests will be done at no cost to you. Some of these tests will be repeated yearly while a member of the donor program.

Laboratory evaluation includes:

  • Blood type determined (Must have blood type A or B)
  • Normal complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis.
  • Negative result for the following infectious diseases: Bartonella, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline Leukemia Virus, Heartworm Disease, and Mycoplasma haemofelis.
What if something is abnormal?

If abnormalities are found on examination or on laboratory tests, recommendations may be made for further evaluation, diagnostics and/or treatment. Any and all associated costs will be your responsibility and should be done with your primary care veterinarian or with the Emergency Service at MVS.

What happens on a donation day?
  • All evaluations, examinations and donations will be done at MVS
  • A complete physical exam will be done to make sure there are no problems that would prevent donation that day.
  • If there are problems then we will arrange for donation on a different day.
  • You may leave your pet, if needed, based on your schedule; or you may wait in the lobby. Donations take about 2-3 hours.
  • A small amount of blood will be obtained for a PCV and total protein.
  • Sedation will be administered to cats
  • A small area of fur will be shaved from the neck and the skin prepped as if for a surgery.
  • Blood will be obtained from the jugular vein using a sterile needle, collection bag and/or syringe.
  • 250ml or 450ml of blood will be collected from dogs (based on their weight) and 53ml from cats.
  • A bandage will be applied after the donation to allow proper clotting to occur.
  • Water will be offered to dogs and SQ fluids will be given to cats after the collection to replace volume.
  • Snacks or treats will be offered.
Will my pet still need to see my primary care veterinarian for routine visits and vaccinations?

Yes!  The exams and blood work provided as part of the blood donor program are not a substitute for routine visits to your primary care veterinarian.  It is essential that your pet maintain a good relationship with a primary care veterinarian and stay current on all recommended vaccinations and disease prevention protocols.  We will share all lab work with your primary care veterinarian.

We are so thankful to Elanco for donating the Heartworm preventative and Ceva for providing the flea and tick preventatives. We couldn’t do it without them! Click on their logo below to read more about them and their products.

By submitting this online application and agreement, you declare that you have read and agree to the Blood Donor Requirements listed in the brochure and/or on the MVS website.

Blood Donor – Canine

    Some breeds of dogs are more predisposed to certain infections diseases. Those breeds may be screened differently than other breeds.

Dr. Carrie Calhoun graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 2014 and knew that she wanted to be an emergency clinician. She completed a rotating small animal internship in emergency, medicine, and surgery in Seattle, Washington before joining our team at MVS.

Dr. Calhoun lives in Fitchburg with her golden retriever/Great Pyrenees mix named Charlie. In her free time, she enjoys running, paddle boarding, hiking and traveling.

Sierra completed her degree in veterinary technology at the Bel-Rea Institute in Denver before beginning her career, starting in general practice. After a year and a half, she made the jump to emergency medicine. Veterinary medicine was always in her plans, and she chose to be a technician because of her love of the nursing side of care. She knew ER was her passion following an internship in an ICU/ER at a specialty emergency clinic. Sierra thrives in the fast-paced ER environment and loves making a difference in the lives of our patients and their owners–from seeing the sick that get better and get to go home to helping families who are saying goodbye.

Sierra lives in Dodgeville and shares her home with her English Bulldog Harley, Husky mix Koda, four cats named Zara, Jinx, Wanda and Patches and a few chickens.

Baylee obtained her degree in Veterinary Technology from Madison College in 2019 and is working on her Bachelors in the same field from Mizzou. Prior to joining the MVS team in February 2022 as our laboratory technician, she worked as an emergency nurse at a different emergency veterinary clinic.

Baylee lives in Waunakee and shares her home with a DSH named Abigail, a Cockapoo named Mollie Jo, a Chihuahua mix named Joey, a Norwegian Forest Cat named and Eli and a goldfish named Shamu.

See All Staff