Can Dogs be Organ Donors

Can Dogs be Organ Donors

Author WDF Staff


Dogs do many wonderful things for humans and their fellow dogs. However, they cannot yet be organ donors. If a human needs an organ transplant, there is a vast network in place that can easily place you on a waiting list. Becoming an organ donor is often as simple as checking a box. When it comes to our beloved dogs, things are a bit more complicated. If you wondered whether your dog can donate or receive a new organ, here are a few things you should know.

Organ transplant in dogs

Dog and human bodies are entirely different. Not only are we different species, but dogs have entirely different reactions to getting new organs. For humans, as long as the new organ is compatible with the receiver, chances are the procedure will be successful. Dogs have completely different reactions. For dogs to successfully get an organ, it should come from a related dog.

akita during autumn

The main issue is that the new organ would likely kill the host. The dog’s immune system would overreact and reject the transplant, which means the dog in question would not survive. Another considerable issue is there is no nationwide infrastructure that would harvest the deceased dog’s organs. There are no widespread services like for humans. There should be a network of trained vets that could pick up a suddenly deceased dog and get them to a facility that can preserve their organs and send them to dogs in need of a transplant.

However, there is one type of transplant available, even for dogs - a kidney transplant.

Kidney transplant in dogs

Even though kidney transplants in dogs are extremely rare, they are available. Suppressing the dog’s immune system is nearly impossible, and chances are, dogs will reject the donated kidney. The donated organ has to come from related dogs, which is often extremely hard to find.

Dogs from the same litter are often sold to different owners and families, and the breeder has to keep their client’s name safe. In rare cases of kidney failure, owners have decided that one dog will donate a kidney to their sick dog. However, that is only possible if they own both dogs that come from the same litter.

dog profile

It is pretty clear that all the organ transplant business is very complicated for dogs, and there are a few key things that need to be solved for dogs to donate and receive organs;

  • Infrastructure
  • Immune system reactions

Infrastructure can be solved, but the nature of our dog’s constitution cannot be changed. Maybe further scientific development will allow us to transplant dog organs. Still, for now, our best bet is to keep our dogs as healthy and happy as possible.

World Dog Finder team

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