Forget personality type! What's the blood type?


Consider including a blood-typing test in new pet wellness packages.

As traditional profit centers like vaccination and product sales shrink, blood typing can bring in new revenue and offer pets the best chance for recovery if they ever need a transfusion, says Patrick Lee, co-founder and COO of the Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank (EVBB) in Severna Park, Md.

Lee says more veterinarians are performing blood transfusions these days—emergency doctors especially, but even some adventurous general practitioners. A simple first step is blood typing for every patient as part of new pet wellness packages. What was once a 45-minute-plus procedure takes two minutes now. And a test can cost as little as $4.50 if purchased in bulk.

Blood typing benefits the patient most, Lee says. A common misconception is that DEA 1.1 negative blood is a "universal" blood type for dogs and therefore ideal for all transfusion situations. The truth is that while this is the least antigenic blood type, it still contains substances that can lead to reactions in dogs with DEA 1.1 positive blood. And most dogs—55 percent—do have the positive type. Transfusing positive blood into positive dogs is simply the best medicine, Lee says.

Positive blood costs one-third less than negative blood, and using it with appropriate patients helps prevent a drain on the negative blood supply, Lee says. And if you charge less for positive blood, it'll be easier for money-sensitive clients to pay for proper medical care.

EVBB co-founder Dr. Ann Schneider sees blood typing as a win-win for all. "You can increase revenue," she says, "but most important, you'll preserve a precious resource and you'll know what your patient needs and be prepared if a transfusion is ever called for."

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