Seven-year-old Bruno has been a regular at the Madras Veterinary College. The friendly yellow-coloured Labrador does not come for any treatment. And yet it is very much part of the treatment. He is a blood donor, much like many of his human friends. And he has helped save many sick dogs.
The likes of Bruno are much in demand at the country’s first canine blood bank in Chennai, which fills a major gap in canine healthcare. Dogs are particularly prone to anaemia due to tick-borne diseases. Many surgeries result in blood loss, which needs to be compensated. There are also injuries due to accidents, resulting in loss of blood. “In such conditions, blood transfusion is the only way to save a dog, for which we need a steady stream of donors, as also a facility to store the blood and administer them to recipients,” says Dr C. Balachandran, vice- chancellor of the Tamil Nadu University for Veterinary and Animal Sciences (TANUVAS).