Some poisons cause severe anaemia or coagulopathy and although these are relatively uncommon in cats (compared to dogs) what are the risks of giving canine blood when no feline blood is available and the cat requires an urgent blood transfusion?

A recently published article reviewed 49 cases of cats given emergency canine blood transfusions. Attending clinicians performed xenotransfusion only if feline blood products were unavailable and if they considered the cat likely to die within 6 hours without blood. No acute adverse reactions other than febrile non-haemolytic transfusion reactions (which are short-lived and self-limiting) were seen. In about two thirds of the cats that did not die rapidly of their presenting disease, there was a delayed haemolytic transfusion reaction occurring 1-6 days after the transfusion. All the non-surviving cats in the study died or were euthanased because of their underlying disease process.

The study concluded that xenotransfusion of canine blood to cats is a potentially life-saving procedure in emergencies when feline blood products are not available.

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