ASK VETERINARIES: Veterinary Care Still a Good Deal Compared to Human Medicine | feel guilty
Many of these questions can be answered through a website called petinsurancereview.com. Before the final decision, be sure to seek the advice of your family veterinarian.
Do dogs and cats have different blood groups?
Cats have two blood groups, A and B. Although specific breeds have different ratios, typical domestic short-haired or long-haired cats in the United States are 94-99% type A. Even most cats from purebred are 85% or more of type A. As a general rule, it is safe to transfuse blood between A types, between B types, or between B types and A types. The risk of a transfusion reaction is very high with the rare transfusion of a type A to a type B. In an emergency with mixed breed cats, vets frequently transfer without a blood type. The risk of reactions is quite low given the high proportion of types A.
Dogs are a bit more complex. They don’t have “types” like humans, but have over a dozen potential unique red blood cell proteins, or DEAs. The most common and clinically important is AED 1.1. Usually, canine blood banks mark blood as DEA 1.1 positive or negative.
If a dog has never received a transfusion before, it is unlikely that a reaction will be seen with the first transfusion. However, a dog that is negative for a specific AED and receives positive blood, it will make antibodies against the transfused blood. In the future, exposure to this same type of AED will cause violent reactions.
Dr Michael J. Watts is a General Practitioner for Pets and owner of Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care in Amissville