LOUISVILLE, Ky. --(WDRB) -- Does your dog or cat have what it takes to be a blood donor?

Jefferson Animal Hospital, with locations at 4504 Outer Loop and 6902 Bardstown Road, has established the first blood bank in the city for dogs and cats.

So this Saturday, May 17, it is holding a donor drive and health fair at its Bardstown Road location from 1 to 5 p.m.

"We are using more and more blood products all the time," said Dr. Pat Kennedy Arrington, the hospital director and owner.

"Last weekend we did three blood transfusions; we have quite a few dog and cat donors but we just need more; our goal is to not only supply our needs but also the needs of the area veterinarians as we get more donor blood in."

Dr. Kennedy says animals need blood just like humans for a variety of reasons including surgery, trauma and blood loss from disease.

The practice invested about $25,000 to open its blood bank, most of which went to new equipment including a centrifuge which separates blood from plasma.

She says the hospital expects to recoup its investment within a year.

Acquiring blood from out of state from blood banks, like ones in California, has proved to be a problem.

"Getting blood in on short notice from blood banks is expensive, the transportation costs are high, getting it overnight is very expensive so its going to be good for the Louisville community to have whole blood products available."

She says just like humans, dogs and cats can donate blood with no ill effects.

But to be a donor dogs have to weigh at least fifty pounds and cats need to weigh ten pounds.

For information about how pet owners can benefit from having their dogs or cats become donors, click

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