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Blood (bank) Hounds

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Blood banks are really not news but this one is. April last week, on World Veterinary Day, the country got its first blood bank for dogs. A black Labrador named Hot Dog became the first to donate blood at the bank in Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Tanuvas) in Chennai. Dogs constitute the majority of animals visiting the hospital on the university’s premises. Half of them suffer from hypoproteinemia, a condition that requires blood transfusion. 

“There are at least two cases that require blood transfusion every week in Chennai. So we thought of the blood bank,’’ says Tanuvas vice-chancellor Dr P Thangaraju. Dr S Prathaban,  who is in charge of the blood bank , says the biggest obstacle to a bank of this nature is blood typing. “Like in humans, dogs too have various blood types and even a universal donor type. But now we have the equipment to do blood typing so the facility is all set to store blood for use,” he adds.