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Dog's Best Friend Is a Blood Donor

Zhu Bao has been a blood donor for more than a year, in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province. He is a dog.

"I am so proud of him," his owner, Chen Danqi said.

Zhu Bao suffered from a bacterial infection when he was a puppy and received medical treatment at a veterinary surgery.

"It was at this point that I made friends with the surgery staff. One-and-half-years ago I moved to a new house where there was no room for Zhu Bao, so I asked the vets to keep the dog," Chen said.

Even so, Chen often visited her pet and was happy to help when the doctor, Jiang Jin, asked if she would let Zhu Bao donate blood.

"My German sheepdog Bobby is getting old and his blood is not as good as 2-year-old Zhu Bao, which also has antibodies for canine viruses and febrile diseases," Jiang told Chen.

Chen agreed to further blood donations, thinking it would be a good thing if her dog saved the lives of other dogs.

"Since the beginning of this year my dog has donated three times, giving 20 ml to 30 ml of blood. It was very obedient and docile when the vets and nurses took blood," Chen said.

Zhu Bao saved the life of a 2-month-old hound, Di Di, which was infected by a virus and was suffering from bleeding, diarrhea and vomiting.

"Di Di was hemorrhaging severely and would have died if it had not been given a timely blood transfusion," Jiang said.

Veterinarians said dogs need blood transfusions when they have canine viruses and injuries. In China there are few sources for dog blood.

"Like human beings, dogs have their own blood types, but most pet surgeries do not differentiate.

"My dog, Bobby, has donated blood to more than 100 dogs. Its blood type is like the O-type blood of humans," Jiang said.

"We limit the number of times a dog can donate its blood. Generally, a dog donates some 20 ml to 30 ml of blood once a month and we will give it some nutrients afterward."

Blood transfusions for other animals can be more complicated. In September, a 3-year-old white rhino at Shanghai Zoo was seriously ill and needed to have blood transfusion. The zoo used blood from sika deer, horses and red deer.

(China Daily December 6, 2007)

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