GOOD BOY: Irene Kong and Biancia Galletly with brave Simba, who donated blood for the first time.
GOOD BOY: Irene Kong and Biancia Galletly with brave Simba, who donated blood for the first time. Ebony Graveur

Hero golden retriever joins battle to save lives

Simba the golden retriever was a good boy, sitting still for the vets as he donated blood for the first time.

It's not only humans who rely on blood donors for life-saving medical procedures - animals need them too.

Simba's owner Irene Kong said she brought her golden labrador in to the University of Queensland Small Animals Hospital to donate because, as a vet student herself, she saw how vital blood donations were to the survival of injured animals.

"When I see cases of animals in emergency situations, I realise how important it is,” Ms Kong said.

"I just basically want to help other animals.”

UQ vets launched a Community Donor program last year to raise awareness and let dog owners know they can sign their pups up to donate blood.

Nurse Manager, Gary Fitzgerald, said it was surprising how many people hadn't thought about the notion of animals needing donations before.

He said there were a number of reasons pets might find themselves in need of a blood transfusion including patients who have been hit by a car or bitten by a snake.

"The ones we're most concerned about are the emergency cases where we need blood right now in order to save that animal's life,” he said.

He said since its launch late last year, the program had been successful.

"Since starting the community blood donor program we've been getting client-owned dogs in to donate blood quite regularly if they're suitable,” he said.

"They come in about every three months to donate a unit of blood, like we would, and that's been going into stocking the hospital so we can use it in emergencies whenever required.”

He said the program could still benefit from more participants.

"The more donors the better,” he said.

"We'd have extra people to call on if there's a specific time of high need.”