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India establishes its first blood bank for dogs

A blood bank for dogs has been launched for the first time in India.

The blood bank has been set up so that middle class dog owners can get treatment for pets injured in road accidents, which are becoming more prevalent in the country due to increasing urbanization and traffic.

“This is the first blood bank of its kind in the country,” Vice Chancellor P. Thangaraju, of Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in the city of Madras,  told the BBC.

“Dogs get frequently injured – not only while crossing roads but also in and around the many multi-story apartments that exist across the country,” he said.

Dr. Thangaraju said that the lack of availability of blood has become a major cause of death among dogs, especially when the animals require surgery.

He said that appeals for volunteers to come forward and donate blood from their dogs had been “encouraging”, although he expected it would take some time before a satisfactory reserve had been built up.

Although there are no plans at present to make the blood bank a profit-making enterprise, he said it could happen in the future —  depending upon the availability of blood.

He said that the collection and storing of canine blood was the same as the process used to collect human blood and that stringent measures would be taken to ensure that donated blood is free from infection.

Figures produced by the university show that about 100,000 pets – the overwhelming majority of which are dogs – are treated by veterinary hospitals every year in India.

Experts say that the blood donations, while they will benefit dogs kept as pets in India, will be of little help to the estimated 8 million stray dogs in the country.