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Spalding pet owner receives canine lifetime achievement award as dog Zinfandel donates blood as part of the Royal Veterinary College's (RVC) blood donor programme

A pet owner has been honoured with an award following 20 years of her dog donating blood to help other animals.

Carol Ann Carlton, from Spalding, discovered the Royal Veterinary College's (RVC) blood donor programme through a leaflet at her local vets.

She has been honoured with a canine lifetime achievement award after her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Zinfandel, first donated blood in 2006 helping the programme to support some 242 dogs.

Carol Ann and dog, Semillon. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
Carol Ann and dog, Semillon. PHOTO: SUBMITTED

She said: "My dog Zinfandel was the starting point on this journey and I remember when he first donated because he got his third ticket to become a champion at the Ridgeback Club of Great Britain while his donation patch was still visible.

"But to me he was already a hero because we had done something special by donating blood.’

The blood donor programme is a vital service that helps save and treat thousands of pets at the RVC’s Queen Mother Hospital for Animals. The hospital carried out 711 transfusions last year alone.

L-R Chablis, Zinfandel, Grenache, Amarula. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
L-R Chablis, Zinfandel, Grenache, Amarula. PHOTO: SUBMITTED

Since the programme began, there has been a significant increase in demand and growth of the service, with only 19 canine donors in 2004 — compared to 150 now.

Charlotte Russo, lead transfusion medicine nurse at RVC said: "Our voluntary donation programme relies entirely on the goodwill of local pet owners.

"We are delighted to recognise Carol Ann for her incredible generosity and commitment.

"The support alone has enabled us to treat and care for hundreds of cats and dogs

"Without dedicated owners like them and their superhero pets, we wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand for blood products that save lives every year."

Through the generosity of blood donor families, the RVC’s animal hospitals can continue performing a wide range of complex and life-saving operations and treatments every day.

The RVC Animal Care Trust funds vital equipment and research to support the blood donor service.

To mark the 20th birthday of the programme — and in a bid to expand the service — the trust has launched an appeal to raise £150,000 for new facilities.

If you think your pet could be a blood donor superhero or if you wish to support the appeal, visit: https://www.rvc.ac.uk/pet-blood-donations.

Are you a pet owner? What do you think? Post your comments below…

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