Penn Animal Blood Bank (PABB)
As a result of the increased specialization in veterinary medicine today, the demand for blood products has risen dramatically. Specialties such as emergency medicine, critical car and oncology have created a need for knowledge in veterinary transfusion medicine, paving the way for transfusion medicine to become a specialty unto itself.
A safe and adequate supply of blood components for transfusion is indispensable; therefore, education is clearly the link to ensuring the overall quality of all aspects of blood banking and transfusion services. Penn Vet and the Penn Animal Blood Bank (PABB) are very active in providing that education to both veterinary professionals and caring pet owners.
PABB supplies canine and feline blood products to the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Each year, thousands of units of whole blood are collected from canine and feline blood donors and processed into blood components, which are then transfused to hospitalized patients across all services within the hospital.
The development of a safe and readily available blood supply has facilitated the advent of many life-saving procedures and ancillary hospital services (e.g., feline renal transplantation, hemodialysis) at Ryan. Some of these procedures may not have come about, nor could they currently exist, without the support of blood products.
Ryan doctors and nurses perform approximately 300 transfusions each month to support animals with trauma, anemia and acquired or congenital bleeding disorders (e.g., rat poison, hemophilia). Similar to the American Red Cross, PABB’s volunteer donor program, "Pets Helping Pets," allows healthy pets to donate blood for other animals in need.
Each donation of whole blood can be processed into a variety of components such as packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma and platelets. Utilizing specific components of the blood to treat specific disorders that affect our patients is not only the best way to provide transfusion support, but it also allows each donated unit to potentially save several lives.