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Wanted – Canine blood donors

Wanted – blood donors of a different breed! More than 6 million dogs are registered as pets in Japan. Due to both the increase in overall number and of elderly population of animals, there has been a noted increase in medical complications. The most common use of transfusion is for blood loss and also for cancer treatments.

There is no animal equivalent of the human blood bank in Japan, so hospitals and clinics must sort out any blood required for surgery beforehand. Canine blood can only be stored for up to a month, after which it has to be thrown out, and each dog can only donate once in a three-month period.

It is, however, allowed for individual hospitals to conduct their own donation drive. To help raise awareness about the issue, the Japan Animal Referral Medical Center has enlisted the help of pet grooming salons and training centers. Canine volunteer donors are registered and once dogs donate, they receive a free blood check up.

For the meantime, a research team from Chuo University in Tokyo has been successful in developing artificial blood for dogs. This is a revolutionary invention that will provide an immediate solution for the severe issue of securing blood for transfusions that surround the veterinary medicine field. The research results were published in the online journal Scientific Reports, a British science journal, on November 10, 2016. If a system that always stores artificial blood for pet animals with heavy bleeding or anemia is established, securing of donors as well as blood compatibility test are not needed any more; blood transfusion procedure then becomes greatly simplified. This is expected to make a huge contribution to animal blood transfusion therapy.