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A Swindon animal hospital is teaming up with the UK’s leading animal blood donor charity as it looks to encourage more owners to volunteer their pets to become lifesaving heroes

Eastcott Veterinary Referrals, based in Edison Business Park, is partnering with Pet Blood Bank (PBB) UK to host regular dog blood donor sessions at its hospital, with the first taking place on Tuesday. (August 11)

The move comes as the specialist-led referral centre, which is part of Linnaeus, is one of many vet practices across the country which receives often lifesaving blood and plasma from PBB UK.

One such case was Heidi the dachshund. The beloved family pet was lethargic as she struggled with severe anaemia.

Now, the nine-year-old is walking tall again after receiving specialist treatment and life-changing blood transfusions at Eastcott’s emergency and critical care service after suffering from progressive lethargy and exercise intolerance.

Vanessa Woolhead, internal medicine specialist at Eastcott, which is part of Linnaeus, said: “Heidi’s condition warranted an immediate blood transfusion to increase her circulating red blood cells to an acceptable level and it transpired she actually required three blood transfusions.”

Further diagnostic tests, performed by Eastcott’s internal medicine team, revealed Heidi was suffering from non-regenerative immune mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA).

Vanessa said: “IMHA is a condition in which the body destroys red blood cells. Heidi’s condition was so severe that is also prevented her bone marrow from producing new red blood cells to replace those being destroyed.

“So, we started Heidi on immune-suppressive treatment for her condition and have been closely monitoring her progress at Eastcott. The internal medicine team are thrilled with how her condition is improving.”

Vanessa paid tribute to PBB UK, which provides a blood and plasma service to vets across the county.

She added: “Thankfully, Pet Blood Bank is able to work similarly to the human blood bank.

“They collect blood from donor dogs to distribute for dogs such as Heidi. This service is lifesaving for those dogs who lose excessive blood due to medical conditions, challenging surgeries or serious injuries, such as road traffic accidents.

“They have more than 11,000 generous canine donors registered, however, stocks are always in high demand. We are so pleased we are now able to start helping them with their supplies.”

Every unit of blood a dog donates can help save the lives of up to four other dogs around the UK and the team at Eastcott are urging owners to sign up their pets to become lifesaving donors.

To be a blood donor, dogs must be:

  • Fit and healthy
  • Aged between one and eight years old
  • Weigh more than 25kg
  • Have a good temperament
  • Have never travelled abroad
  • Be fully-vaccinated
  • Not taking any medication

Anyone interested in finding out whether their dog could help contribute to saving the lives of other pets such as Heidi, should visit to find out more information and to register.

For more information on the UK Pet Blood Bank, visit

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