Dogs get Their Own Blood Bank
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27 April 2010
By M Ramya
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
First Of Its Kind In India; Dire Need For Facility, Say Experts
Hot Dog, the prankster black Labrador, is no longer a mere family pet but an icon. He became the first dog to donate blood as Tamil Nadu opened the country’s first blood bank for dogs on Monday.
The facility, started by the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) and whose inauguration coincided with World Veterinary Day, holds out hope to owners of dogs who have found themselves in a fix when it came to their pets requiring blood urgently.
“There is a dire need for the facility because every week there are at least two cases that require blood transfusion,” said TANUVAS vice–chancellor Dr P Thangaraju. So far, there was no blood bank for veterinary patients in the country, and the lack of equipment for blood–typing, blood collection, storage, and also the lack of donors were big hurdles for animals in need.
“Earlier the constraint was in blood typing, because just like in humans dogs too have various blood types and even a universal donor type. But now we have the equipments to do the blood typing so the facility is all set to draw and store blood for use,” said Dr S Prathaban, director of clinics of Madras Veterinary College in Vepery, who is in charge of the blood bank.
Blood transfusions are commonly needed in cases when a dog suffers from Ehrlicia canis infection, which destroys the red blood cells. Doctors assure that for any surgery to be smooth and for the patient to recover quickly, blood transfusions are necessary. They say that dogs constitute a major portion of the patients visiting the hospital on the university premises and that half of the 60 to 70 dogs that come for treatment suffer from hypoproteinemia, a condition that requires blood transfusion. An animal may also need blood transfusion in case of a shock, infection, iron deficiency, severe anaemia and spleen injury.
To encourage donors, TANUVAS has announced freebies, which include providing the dog with a green card worth Rs 1,000 to enable it to get treatment as soon as it arrives in the hospital through the green channel for a year.
While the treatment is free for all animals at the hospital, a donor dog would even get an ultrasound or ECG, costing Rs 100 at the hospital and much higher in private hospitals, free for a year. The concept is being promoted through the university website, advertisements in private clinics, and through NGOs that support the cause of animals.
To mark World Veterinary Week celebrations, a free medical camp for dogs is being conducted at the Madras Veterinary College in Vepery to administer the anti–rabies vaccine and deworming medication.