All Icelandic mares between the ages of 4 and 24 are eligible for blood collection, provided they are in good health and physical condition. The farmer is responsible for his/her mares and how they are handled, his/her staff, and the facilities. A veterinarian provided by Ísteka is responsible for the blood collection itself.
At the start of each blood collection period the farmer or veterinarian takes a small blood-sample from each mare to determine whether it is eligible to start blood donation.
During blood collection, the atmosphere should be calm and quiet and sudden noises avoided. The mares are to be handled with care throughout the process.
When a mare enters the blood collection booth it is restrained. The mare is identified and examined by the veterinarian, who makes sure it is healthy, sufficiently calm and fit for the procedure.
The veterinarian then gives the mare an injection of local anesthetics at the extraction site. The veterinarian inserts the blood collection needle into the jugular vein (vena jugularis). The needle is connected to a tube that leads the blood into a canister, which is labelled to identify the mare. The veterinarian monitors her condition during the procedure. One blood unit (5 liters) is collected in each donation. Directly following extraction, the mare is released to the group, where it has immediate access to both water and salt and its condition is monitored.
If signs of unusual discomfort or distress occur, blood collection should be stopped immediately and the mare treated appropriately.
Deviations occurring during the collection are recorded and the records provided to Ísteka for review and appropriate follow-up.