Blood Transfusions for Dogs
Collected blood is stored as whole blood or used immediately after collection as fresh whole blood. Whole blood can be stored in a refrigerator for up to four weeks. Plasma can be stored in a freezer for up to one year and at this time, is purchased from the Canadian Animal Blood Bank.
Dogs have many blood antigen groups (Called DEA 1.1, DEA 1.2, DEA 4, DEA 7, etc.) and an individual dog can be positive to more than one type of antigen. At VSCNL, testing is only available for one type of antigen (DEA 1).
Dogs are not born with antibodies to other blood types; therefore, on their first transfusion of packed red blood cells or whole blood and for the first four days after this transfusion, they can receive blood from any dog. From four days after receiving their first transfusion and for the rest of their life, a dog’s who receives another blood transfusion should have a laboratory test (cross match) performed to assess the risk of a transfusion reaction occurring.
A cross-match is performed, combining the recipient and donor’s red blood cells in a test tube to check for compatibility or reactions.
All patients receiving a transfusion are monitored very closely to assess for reactions. Patients who have adverse reactions to blood transfusions will either have the transfusion immediately stopped or receive immediate appropriate treatment.
Blood Transfusions for Cats
We rarely have cats in hospital that require a blood transfusion; therefore, never store feline blood. When a cat arrives that requires a blood transfusion, we immediately start sourcing a donor.
A cat can have either – A, B, AB, or Mik blood type. We can currently only type for A, B and AB. It is very important that cats are either blood typed or cross-matched because of B blood types. Type B cats are born with anti – A antibodies and they can develop a dangerous anaphylactic type of reaction if they receive even a tiny amount of Type A blood. Blood typing or cross-matching is always required in cats, prior to receiving a transfusion, to ensure safety for the patient.