School of Veterinary Medicine unveiled and dedicated a new Animal
Bloodmobile on May 7 at the Veterinary Hospital (VHUP).The Bloodmobile
was made possible by a generous gift from the Wurster Family Foundation.
Bogie, a Labrador retriever owned by members of the Wurster family,
was a VHUP patient whose life was saved by numerous blood transfusions.
new Bloodmobile will be used for blood drives organized by breeders,
dog clubs and veterinarians in the Delaware Valley. These drives
are held two or three times a week. Blood is collected from 10
to 15 dogs that are brought by their owners. The donation takes
just a few minutes and the dogs don't mind the collection. They
are rewarded with a treat of meaty dog food and lots of pats on
the head. The blood is brought back to VHUP where it is processed
and separated into its components such as red blood cells, plasma
and clotting factors. One unit of blood helps more than one patient.
The blood and blood products are typed and matched to ensure compatibility
between donor and patient.
The new vehicle is 24 ft. long, 8 ft. 4 in.wide and weighs 7 tons.
The Bloodmobile, custom-built to the specifications of the Penn
Animal Blood Bank team, consists of a Ford chassis with a V 10
engine and a custom-built body, equipped with a hydraulic exam
table, a scale, a holding cage, sink and ample counter space for
equipment. There are seats for three people. The new vehicle has
storage space, including a compartment accessible from the exterior
for dog food that is given to the donor's owners.
blood donor program has the motto "Pets Helping Pets" and began
in 1987 to meet the need of the hospital's patients. The Penn
Animal Blood Bank has grown tremendously over the years; since
its beginning more than 3,000 dogs have participated. Currently
close to 1,000 dogs from the Delaware Valley are active donors.
It is the largest voluntary canine blood donor program in the
nation. The bloodmobile is a vital part of the hospital's lifesaving
treatments for patients. Each day, more than 10 blood transfusions
are administered to VHUP's patients.
donate blood, a dog must be good-tempered, at least one year of
age, weigh at least 50 lbs., be in excellent health and have current
vaccination status. Those interested in having their dog donate
blood should contact the Penn Animal Blood Bank at (215) 573-7222.