Canine and Feline Blood Types
Dogs and cats have different blood types, which can be an important factor before a blood transfusion is given. Just like humans, animal blood types don’t change so the test would only have to be done once. If an incorrect blood type is given to an animal, especially in cats, reactions can occur.
Animal Blood Types
Dog Blood Types
There are eight to 12 canine blood groups that are categorized under the Dog Erythrocyte Antigen (DEA) system, erythrocyte being the red blood cells. The system is grouped into a DEA category followed by a number(s), indicating the antigens present in the red blood cells. An antigen can induce the formation of antibodies.
Cat Blood Types
The blood types for cats are A and B with a rare type of AB. Cats with the rare AB type can be universal recipients for blood transfusions, which means they can receive either Type A or Type B blood. The majority of cats in the United States are Type A.
Determining Blood Type
In order to determine what blood type your dog has, your veterinarian must draw a blood sample. This blood sample is dropped onto a type of well that contains certain proteins that is mixed with a blood typing fluid. This fluid is then checked for clumping. If clumping occurs, your dog would be considered a DEA 1.1 positive.
Dogs don’t seem to have any naturally occurring antibodies like cats and humans do. Crossmatching, which is used to detect antibodies in a dog receiving the transfusion with the antibodies in a dog giving the blood may seem less important. However, if the dog receiving the blood has had a transfusion before, it should be crossmatched to make sure the blood is compatible before receiving subsequent blood transfusions.
For cats, blood must be drawn and deposited in two wells: one marked “A” and one marked “B.” If the blood that is dropped into well A clumps, the cat is a Type A. If there is clumping in well B, the cat is Type B. If clumping occurs in both well A and well B, the cat is type AB. There are certain disorders or diseases that will cause the blood to clot. In this case, the blood must be sent to a special laboratory to detect the blood type despite the naturally occurring clumping.
If you’re interested in having your dog or cat tested for blood type, contact your local veterinary assistant to schedule a blood test.
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