Equine blood bank

An equine blood bank operates at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, for which new donors are constantly needed. Blood is needed year round for seriously ill horses and ponies.

Plasma prepared from blood especially benefits foals that suffer from postnatal antibody deficiency. Plasma can also be utilised in the case of certain serious illnesses, such as in the treatment following colic surgery. Plasma is needed in blood poisoning cases, for protein and coagulation factor deficiencies as well as in hepatic and renal diseases. Plasma is primarily collected for the treatment of hospitalised patients. Registration is completed through the booking services of the Equine Hospital or e-mail: yliopistollinen-hevossairaala@helsinki.fi

Will my horse be a heroic blood donor?

We need as donors horses of different breeds, since blood types are the closest to each other among horses of the same breed. In particular, we are looking for Finnhorse and Standardbred trotters as donors.

At the donation appointment, the health of the horse is first examined, after which a small area around the jugular vein is shaved to be able to collect the blood in a clean manner. A small sample of blood is collected, and the results are disclosed to the owner. The horse will be sedated for the duration of the procedure, which lasts roughly an hour. For a few days after the donation, the heroic donor must be allowed only light exercise.

The procedure can be handily carried out also in conjunction with another procedure, such as a lameness examination, shoeing or pre-purchase examination. In such cases, the administrative fee is waived.

Heroic donors are offered a health examination and, as a pick-me-up, Nutrisal electrolyte drink powder by Orion Pharma Animal Health. In addition to feeling content, owners gain information on the current health status of their horse.


For safety reasons, donor horses must be

  • Healthy
  • Between 2 and 16 years of age
  • Over 300 kg in weight
  • Never have been pregnant
  • Vaccinated and eradicated of parasites at regular intervals
  • Not recipients of blood transfusions or plasma
  • Not diagnosed with blood diseases (e.g., piroplasmosis)
  • Residents of Finland for the past 24 months