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Sunni, Blood Donor Dog

Sunni is missing the antigens that cause other dogs to react to a donation of blood.

Sunni is a remarkable American Pit Bull Terrier. Although she loves to catch Frisbees and chase tennis balls, she is remarkable because she is a universal blood donor. According to her owner Toni Klemstein, she is missing the antigens that cause other dogs to react to a donation.

Blood is often needed for dogs that have been injured or have autoimmune problems. Sunni's blood was once used when an injured Poodle was brought in to Baseline Animal Hospital in Alta Loma which is located in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Sunni's owner is a receptionist at the facility. The blood helped save the poodle's life and his owners got a kick out of the fact that their dog was given pit bull blood during the transfusion.

According to Baseline veterinarian Bruce Armstrong, the practice of blood typing for dogs has only been in use for the past 10 years. Most vets don't provide the service, because the process is costly and time consuming, he said. "It costs about $70 to $80 to do a blood type and another $100 to $200 to do the transfusion," Armstrong said. "We don't do it (blood typing) here. I only get about one or two dogs a month that need blood."

However, emergency veterinarian hospitals often need canine blood, so they contact Hemopet in Irvine, CA. Hemopet is one of only four canine blood banks in the entire United States. The facility provides about 120 units of blood per week throughout the US, Canada and Hong Kong. Jason Barnhart, Operations Manager at Hemopet says that they have about 130 donors, all of which are rescued dogs.