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Services > Blood Transfusions

Blood product information

Rat Poison Ingestion- Depending on the active ingredient, can create massive internal bleeding or brain and central nervous system swelling, each of which can result in death.

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Traumatic Blood Loss- Severe blood loss from injury, laceration of major blood vessels, or internal damage such as rupture of the spleen or liver. May require blood typing, cross-matching, whole blood transfusions, or the need for administration of packed red blood cells.

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Auto Immune Diseases- Cause the immune system to attack its own red blood cells or platelets. This leads to complete destruction of the red blood cells, or in the case of platelet damage the animal is unable to clot the blood and suffers from internal hemorrhages. Frozen plasma is often a required treatment, along with immune suppressing medications and careful monitoring of important blood levels.
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Spleen Tumors- Spontaneous internal bleeding can occur from a tumor or tumors on the spleen. These tumors can be as small as a grape, or as large as a basketball. They are often undiagnosed until sudden internal bleeding causes weakness and shortness of breath. These patients often require a blood transfusion and immediate surgery.

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DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) - Abnormal blood clotting starts to occur in the small vessels of the body (causing micro clots to form in capillaries and tiny veins), while lack of proper clotting ability in the larger blood vessels causes blood leakage or hemorrhage into larger cavities- such as the chest and abdomen. This is a serious condition which can follow heat stroke, severe infection, medication reaction, poisoning, snake bites or conditions such as kidney or liver disease or failure. Medications, blood transfusion or use of frozen plasma may help if DIC is recognized early.

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Blood Typing
- Cats have Type A or Type B blood. Occasionally a cat will have Type AB blood. Type B is much more rare than Type A. We have Type B cats "on call" should the need arise.

- Cats with Type B blood can accept Type A blood. Cats with Type A blood generally should not be transfused with Type B or Type AB blood as adverse reactions can occur. All cats are blood typed prior to transfusion. Our donors are all Type A, and so are considered universal donors.


- The first transfusion can usually be given safely using Type A blood, even if typing is not available.

Dogs - Dogs have multiple blood types. These blood types are categorized using the DEA (DogErythrocyte Antigen) System. Common antigens include: DEA 1.1, DEA 2, DEA 3, DEA 4, DEA 5, DEA 6, DEA 7, and DEA 8. 

- DEA 1.1 is the only antigen known to cause serious reactions when present in donor blood and not present (negative) in recipient blood.

- DEA 1.1 negative dogs can usually receive one transfusion with DEA 1.1 positive blood safely. The serious risk occurs if a second transfusion is attempted using DEA1.1 positive blood. The first transfusion will cause antibodies against DEA 1.1 to form in the recipient, which can lead to serious transfusion reactions and blood 'clumping' if a second transfusion with DEA 1.1 positive blood is attempted.


- DEA 1.1 typing and cross-matching tests are performed when dog blood transfusions are needed for our canine patients.

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Blood Products

Whole Blood - is available from our in-house and volunteer based donor animals. DEA 1.1 negative donors for dogs and both Type A and Type B donor for cats. All donor dogs are heartworm negative and on heartworm preventative. All feline donors are indoor cats and are negative for feline leukemia and feline AIDS. All donor animals are up to date on all vaccinations.
Packed Red Blood Cells (PRBC) - are usually available for dogs. The shelf life is relatively short so, our supply is rotated on an as used or as needed basis. PRBC transfusions are useful in cases caused by severe trauma with blood loss, internal bleeding or immune mediated diseases in which the red blood cells are being destroyed.


Frozen Plasma - contains important factors for blood clotting, protein and platelets. Plasma is beneficial to animals with clotting disorders, protein loss (for example: loss through intestinal infection) and severe cases of tick-borne diseases (for example: Lyme Disease). Dogs with Parvo virus or leptospirosis may also benefit from plasma transfusion.

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Our Donors

Kenai (retired donor) - is an Alaskan Malamute and has been donating blood since she was two years old. In spite of her size and wolf-like appearance, she is very friendly and is a very cooperative donor.









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