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Life after death: pet tissue donation

Your pet can help another even after it moves on, thanks to the Veterinary Tissue Bank…


The loss of a pet is always a very sad time. Sometimes this sadness can be eased a little by knowing they are going on to help others. This was the case for Amanda when she lost her much-loved, 20-year-old cat, TJ. Understandably devastated when TJ passed away with various age-related illnesses, Amanda made the decision to allow him to be a tissue donor. Her local practice, Vets4Pets, arranged the logistics for her and TJ was collected by the Veterinary Tissue Bank (VTB).

TJ had been with Amanda since he was a small kitten found roaming by her six-year-old daughter. She commented: “TJ was a great character who enjoyed his life to the full. He was a cat with lots of attitude who ruled the roost and was top cat to our other pets whether they were cats or dogs.

“It is a great gift to help the living after your death. I am pleased TJ has been able to do this. After the tissue and bone has been processed, his remains were individually cremated by an approved pet crematorium and were returned to us in a lovely casket. He was treated with respect and dignity throughout the entire process. His ashes are now planted outside in a lovely sunny spot.”

Many owners are tissue and organ donors themselves but unaware that their pets can be tissue donors too. Amanda found it very comforting to know that TJ was going on to help other cats. She said: “It has really helped me to come to terms with his passing; knowing that he has gone on to help other pets in need.”

The Veterinary Tissue Bank is hoping more cats and dogs will come forward as donors, following TJ’s example, to support its groundbreaking operation which makes bone grafts for transplant into other pets. These grafts allow vets to help severely injured pets to walk again, giving a new lease of life through life-transforming surgery.

Pet owners have the option to donate when the time comes, or they can register their pets with VTB in advance via the website. They will then receive a donor card, streamlining the donation process at the end-of-life stage.

Any dog or cat can become a donor, but as tissue donation can only take place at the end of life they do need to meet certain medical criteria at this point. Your vet can advise on eligibility.

These donations allow other dogs and cats to receive life-saving surgeries and a single dog or cat donor can help as many as 50 other pets. As a token of our gratitude, the donor’s cremation fees are covered.

• For more information on becoming a donor, contact VTB on 01691 778769 or visit the website at

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