The Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Helsinki takes care of the animal blood bank in Finland. They collect and store blood of horses, dogs and cats to use in blood transfusions.
Blood is needed all year round and many horses benefit from it every year: it is given to e.g. newborn foals with not enough antibodies and horses after big surgeries, blood poisonings or malfunctions in liver or kidneys.
Any horse of any breed can and should donate blood, since the blood type is most similar in horses of the same breed. But, since the two most common horse breeds in Finland are standardbred and finnhorse, horses of those breeds would be extra welcome. Nowadays about 50 horse heroes visit the animal hospital annually to donate blood, each giving about 3-5 liters of blood at a time.
Donor at Helsinki Veterinarian Hospital should be:
- 2-16 years old
- weight over 300 kg
- has never been pregnant
- vaccinated and dewormed regurlarly
- has never received blood transfusion
- has no blood-related illnesses
- has lived in Finland for the last 24 months
- Click here for more information on blood donation
Of course we hope these things never occur to us and our horses, but we can’t just turn our backs to those who are struggling with serious illnesses. Same goes for human blood donation, which is very simple procedure and won’t take much time or effort and doesn’t even hurt more than a pinch -and saves lives!
This is how it works in Finland, ans Sweden seems to rely on similar system, what about other countries?
Quick googling showed that in the United States it seems that it’s common for animal hospitals to have a few horses of their own to cover the need for blood, such as Belgian draft Mike at the Cornell university or Percherons and other drafts at Virginia-Maryland college of veterinary medicine and a herd of five donor horses at the Royal Veterinary College in UK.
- Också hästar kan hjälpa (blood donation site in Swedish)
- Hipposportilta lahjoitus hevosten veripankille (HippoSport is a tack shop that made a donation for the blood bank for a new centrifuge.)
Is your horse a hero?