Fri, Apr 01, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Uber-like app to match donors with pets needing blood

By Su Meng-chuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An online blood bank for cats and dogs aimed at helping pet owners find donors to meet the medical needs of their animal companions was launched on Monday, the National Veterinary Hospital said.

The database is in its trial phase and the hospital is looking to find 30 volunteer pet owners to test the program prior to building a larger database and declaring the system fully operational, the hospital said.

Although pets frequently require blood transfusions due to accidents, tumors and anemia, only 120 out of the 2,500 calls for blood made last year by the hospital’s clinics across the nation found donors, hospital chief executive Chen Dao-jie (陳道杰) said.

A majority of owners searching blood for their pets resort to self-help, including advertising on the Internet, and there are merchants who deal in animal blood at a price of at least NT$10,000 per transaction, Chen said.

Processing blood transfusions for cats or dogs involves more than finding a matching donor, because sampling and testing are required to screen for disease and prevent rejection, said Chang Chun-yi (張俊毅), a veterinarian at the hospital.

Delays during the process cost the lives of many pets in urgent medical need and the online blood bank is aimed at addressing the problem by expediting the search process and reducing waiting times, he said.

Modeled after the ride-sharing app Uber, the blood bank would match pets in need of blood to the nearest matching potential donor and provide the contact information to the veterinarian clinic where the procedure could be performed, Chang said.

Pet owners willing to register in the blood bank can do so at any of the hospital’s 18 branches and at branches of Polo Pet and Aquarium Supplies, and receive a free blood test for their pet, while registered users in the app’s full version will be required to pay a NT$1,000 fee for the blood test, he said.

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