Stray dogs brought in for adoption are allegedly being used as blood donors for sick pet dogs at the oldest and largest veterinary facility in Mumbai. Animal welfare officers and legal experts terming the practice as illegal and unethical. According to veterinarians such transfusions violate animal rights and pose a health risk to dogs.
“Our facility provides shelter to pet dogs abandoned by their families and stray dogs for treatment and care after accident or disease. Once these dogs are healthy and until they get adopted, we use their blood to treat other pet dogs,” said Col [Retd] Dr JC Khanna, in-charge chief executive officer, BSPCA.
A basic cross-matching blood test is done before the transfusion to ensure the donor and recipient are compatible, Khanna said.
“These donor dogs are healthy and between the ages two and seven. The facility has about 35 dogs for adoption, who can become blood donors if needed,” he said.
As per veterinary doctors
Some tests are mandatory before transfusions such as a complete blood count and tick fever test. The dog has to be young and should weigh at least 30kgs before giving 300ml of blood.
“Due to unavailability of health history and blood tests, stray dogs may carry a range of infections that can be transmitted to recipient dogs if the transfusion is based only on cross-matching,” said Dr Deepa Katyal.
Drawing blood from stray dogs require permission
An activist and senior member of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) said the practice of drawing blood from stray dogs need permissions from AWBI [statutory advisory body on animal welfare laws] and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals [statutory body under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960]. Neither of the criteria, as confirmed by BSPCA officials, is fulfilled.
Dr Chinni Krishna, the former vice-president, AWBI, said, “The practice is unethical and must be stopped immediately. Till the dog gets adopted, no organization or individual has the right to collect blood because strays are not protected by legal provisions. The BSPCA can take up the issue of blood transfusion with the Chennai Veterinary Medical College, which has created a blood bank and a registry of healthy pet dogs who can donate blood during emergencies.
“Safe medical practices disallow using a blood donor dog diagnosed with diseases that affect the blood quality in six months,” said Katyal.
With strays, these diseases are silent and surface only after transfusion. Such transfusions can prove fatal for stray dogs and pose a tangible risk of infection to the recipient dog.
Reference: Hindustan Times
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