Shiva Kumar, a Hyderabad based professional, has just launched a web portal that facilitates blood donation across cities in India. While this may sound like one among the scores of social welfare activities that people launch, there is a slight difference to this effort by the 33-year-old. The web portal will not save human lives, but rather dogs and felines - the pets you pamper at home to the strays which are often run over by speeding vehicles and die on the streets.
Called the ‘Animal bloodline’, Shiva Kumar’s web portal was launched in the second week of June, and collects details of animal blood donors from 135 cities across the country. Pet parents can register the details of their pets along with the contact number, in order to facilitate blood donation for dogs and cats who meet with unfortunate accidents or need urgent surgeries.
“The advancement we have made in science and technology is tremendous. But we are still living in the Stone Age when it comes to our knowledge about animals. For example, many pet parents do not know what their pets’ blood groups are until the time of an emergency. This is because there is not enough awareness on how animals can donate blood, and what are the prerequisites. Animal Bloodline is only bringing the pet parents a step closer in knowing more about their pets and also helping know their counterparts living in the same city,” Shiva says.
Shiva Kumar, a well-known animal activist in the city, has always been passionate about animal welfare and in the past too has been involved in many animal rescue operations.
“Last year alone, I got around 30 phone calls from the city, of pet parents requesting for blood donors. Due to non-availability of blood at the time of a surgery, we could only save about 4-5 lives. That’s when the idea struck to create an animal bloodline, that can help pet parents in identifying donors living within the same city,” explains Shiva.
Animal Bloodline is not a blood bank, but is a database of donors from the country, Shiva clarifies.
“We do not handle the process of blood transfusion. We assist a pet parent only till the point of being able to contact a donor from the same city,” he adds.
Before designing the website, Shiva travelled across the country, talking to pet parents and animal activists and realised that the non-availability of donors is a pervasive issue. He then developed the website with six friends, like-minded people who include veterinarians, professionals and animal activists.
The website explains a set of ground rules for pet parents to follow before registering their pets for blood donation. For example, the animal should weigh a minimum of 15 kg and shouldn’t have received blood transfusions before. Female animals should not be pregnant or lactating and shouldn’t be under any kind of medication.
A recent blood donor
“To register on the website is a simple process. The pet parent needs to fill his/her name and contact and details of their pet which includes their health and breed. If any pet is found to be above 8 years of age, the website will automatically hide the donor. Also, if the pet donated has blood in less than three months, the website makes sure the donor isn’t visible to people in need,” Shiva explains.
As much as a pet parent can be ignorant about their pet’s blood group, people are also equally in the dark about the procedures involved in blood transfusion. Also, testing the blood group of any animal can be expensive for the pet parent, Shiva says.
“Blood transfusion among dogs and cats is simple. There are more than seven blood groups out of which DEA 1.1 type is the most significant for blood transfusions. Most of the dogs/cats are universal donors and in the case of first time transfusion, the animal can receive blood from any animal of the same species. It’s only after the first time that the animal will develop an antigen in its blood. Therefore, from the second time on, pet parents need to be mindful about their pet’s blood group,” the 33-year-old adds.
Animal Bloodline is the second such initiative to begin in India, the first one being in Chennai, Shiva says, adding, “The registration at present is free of cost. We are looking forward to accommodate more animals, mainly horses, and make the website more inclusive for all kinds of pet parents across the country.”