The bank, which is fitted into a lorry, will allow for extra donation sessions to be put on as well as getting to areas not covered before. It has been organised by Loughborough-based charity Pet Blood Bank UK, which launched in 2007 to help vets treat dogs across the country. Sessions hosted within veterinary practices collected 3,000 units last year, it said. Currently, about five standard sessions are run every week across the UK. The mobile unit is a self-contained space where a dog is first checked by a vet before donating approximately 450ml (16floz) of blood. This is taken to Loughborough to be separated into red blood cells and plasma, with last year's 3,000 units making 5,000 blood products. Each donated unit can help up to four dogs.
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Wendy Barnett, clinical director at Pet Blood Bank UK, said: "The launch of the mobile unit gives us a fantastic opportunity to reach more donors, as well as the flexibility to run extra sessions at short notice.
"This is something we always hoped to have and thanks to the fantastic support from Petplan Charitable Trust, it has become a reality.
"Most importantly, the mobile unit will help to save the lives of more dogs."
The charity said it planned to purchase more mobile banks as funding allowed and it hopes to launch a similar service for cats.