Animals Need Blood Too - Heartland Docs DVM

Last Updated on May 10, 2023

Nat Geo Wild Television star Dr. Erin Schroeder spends an average day caring for the lives of animals at Cedar Country Veterinary Services with her husband Dr. Ben Schroeder. Species from horses, pigs, goats, cats and dogs, birds, reptiles and more – they can handle it. They save animals’ lives everyday so taking some time to donate blood and save up to three human lives was a no brainer for Erin and veterinary technician Val Sovereign.

We caught up with them at Wynot High School for a mobile blood drive in Fall 2022 while they filmed season 5 of their television show, Heartland Docs, DVM. Schroeder and Sovereign were 2 of 21 donors that boarded the bus and were able to donate blood during this drive. Schroeder shared “We have a pretty busy schedule, and we were able to take about 30 minutes out of our day to help save 3 lives each.” During their short time aboard the mobile blood bus, Schroeder and Sovereign chatted with our LifeServe team members, commenting that they enjoyed the quiet time you get while donating, as they are both mothers to multiple children and lead busy lives at and outside the vet clinic. They joked about setting up a date to donate once they eligible again (52 days) for afternoon escape and to do their role saving the lives of community members.

Schroeder donated for her fourth time during this drive and recruited Sovereign to accompany for her first donation. She stated, “We draw blood all day on animals and were kind of worried about having our blood drawn” but at the end of the day, the act of donating goes deeper than some pre-procedure nerves. “It’s really invigorating to think that between the two of us, we helped six people today”.

While not saving animal lives around the clock like Cedar County Vet, LifeServe has played a role in providing lifesaving blood products to local animals at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. The zoo approached LifeServe for help with processing animal blood products for emergency transfusions. The same way it is important for humans to have local blood supply, animals in emergency situations require the same local, efficient processes. Blank Park Zoo continues to work with LifeServe to develop an inventory of plasma products for several different species. The first species processed by LifeServe as a part of this program was camel blood.

Additionally, our blood bank at LifeServe carries stock of canine blood should it be needed by area Veterinary clinics, in support of the Canine Blood Bank of Central Iowa. Similar to the screening process humans go through, there are regulations for canine donors as well. Iowa Veterinary Specialties provides that potential dog donors must preliminarily be in good health, 50 pounds or more, 2-4 years old, and have a gentle and calm disposition.

You and your furry friend can join in the lifesaving mission just like TV’s Heartland Docs, DVM, Erin and Ben Schroeder and Val Sovereign. Stay tuned for the release of season 5 Heartland Docs, DVM - you may just see your favorite Siouxland LifeServers on the big screen!