CHENNAI: After an 18-month research, the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) has affirmed that the native Indian Chippiparai is a universal blood donor for dogs in the country.
The announcement was made by S Thilagar, the vice-chancellor, TANUVAS who came during a function on World Blood Donor Day (June 14) to honour pets which donated blood in the past. “We need to have more research projects like this to benefit our community of pets and pet owners directly,” he said, commending the research team.
The term universal donor means a donor that can safely cater to any canine blood type. In the past, this was only attributed to greyhounds in the US, the UK and Australia. And whether for a hit-and-run case, a tick infestation or anemia, easily accessible blood for dogs is just as important as it is for human beings. There are eight blood groups in dogs, out of which DEA 1.1 is the most important for blood transfusions.
Similar to the greyhound, TANUVAS research showed an increased prevalence in the negativity of the antigen DEA 1.1 (73.3%) in the Chippiparai breed, which conferred on it the status of a universal or safe donor. The Chippiparai, a sighthound breed dog from South India is one of the 200 native Indian hounds tested before the discovery was made by the TANUVAS Animal Blood Bank. Dr G R Baranidharan, blood bank officer and lead investigator in the project explained, “We chose hounds because of their low subcutaneous fat and athletic body structure. This makes for convenient IV (intravenous) access. Unlike humans, blood from a dog is taken from the jugular vein in the neck.”
The project which cost `3.73 lakh under the TANUVAS Research Corpus Fund took Baranidharan and fellow investigators Dr P S Thirunavukasu and Dr Kumaran across villages in Karnataka, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli districts and even Bareilly in North India.
The reason being most native hounds like the Rajapalayam and Kombai are not commonly found in metros, unlike popular pedigree breeds like Labradora and Retrievers.
The 18-month study will now be followed by more testing to understand the genetics of the Chippiparai, such as the presence or absence of other blood types including DEA 1.2, 3, 5, 7 and 8. Baranidharan explained, “The next step is to try and identify any other antigens in the blood that would help standardise the blood donation process in dogs.” Two Chippiparais – Rusty and Mani – were present at the event, among the 12 registered with TANUVAS Blood Bank.