M. Seshasubramani's pet dog, Lindo, turned out to be a saviour when it donated blood to an ailing dog. Mr. Seshasubramani said he was filled with pride and joy on seeing the dog, which received the blood, healthy.

After Lindo donated blood, it was given a donor certificate and free dog food. The owner also got a special blood donor ID that permits him to bypass the long queues when he takes his pet to the veterinarians in the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS).

But India's only animal's blood bank at TANUVAS here is in need of more canine blood to meet the demand. Around 35 voluntary donors have registered so far, according to sources in TANUVAS.

Though established about six months ago, the blood bank is yet to be formally inaugurated as at least 100 donors are required for the full-fledged functioning of the facility, sources in the university said. The awareness among youngsters is increasing though their apprehension about their pet's health continues to prevail, they added.

Being a blood donor herself, Pushpa Rajendran finds it equally important for animal blood to be donated. “I have enrolled three of my dogs so far, and my pets have been healthy and active after the entire procedure,” she said.

“We are in need of at least two bags per day. Accident cases, removal of cancerous growth, and surgeries on animals require blood transfusion,” said S. Prathaban, director of Clinics, TANUVAS. Besides the local demand, the hospital receives requests for different blood types from various parts of the country, including Jaipur, Delhi and Hyderabad. “Earlier when there was any emergency, the blood from community dogs used to be taken. But with increasing awareness on ethical treatment of animals, we now insist on voluntary donors,” he said. “The blood is screened for parasites before its components are separated, as a safety measure. We accept the blood from dogs that weigh more than 20 kg and are below seven or eight years of age, for transfusion,” said Dr. Prathaban.

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MeetSeptember 24, 2010