Xenotransfusion of canine blood to cats: a review of 49 cases and their outcome

J Small Anim Pract. 2020 Mar;61(3):156-162. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13096. Epub 2019 Dec 22.


Objectives: To describe the use of a xenotransfusion protocol, the outcome of xenotransfusion in recipient cats and to assess owner memory of the xenotransfusion.

Materials and methods: Cats administered xenotransfusions in two hospitals between January 2016 and July 2018 were included. Adherence to xenotransfusion protocol, cause of anaemia, blood type, packed cell volume (PCV), transfusion volume, transfusion reactions, PCV 12 hours after transfusion and survival to discharge were recorded. Owners of surviving cats were questioned to assess if they remembered that a xenotransfusion had been performed.

Results: Forty-nine cats underwent the xenotransfusion protocol. The most common causes of anaemia were surgical blood loss (n = 17), immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (n = 14) and neoplasia (n = 14). Median PCV before transfusion was 10%. Six cats (12%) had febrile non-haemolytic transfusion reactions. Median PCV 12 hours after transfusion was 25%. Ten cats (20%) died or were euthanased within 24 hours of xenotransfusion. A delayed haemolytic transfusion reaction occurred in 25 of 39 (64%) cats manifesting as icterus in 15 cats after a median of 1.9 days and haemolytic serum in 19 cats after a median of 2 days. Of the 18 cats alive at 1 week after discharge, 15 (83%) were still alive at a median of 173 days after xenotransfusion. All owners contacted remembered that their cats had received a xenotransfusion.

Clinical significance: Xenotransfusion of canine packed red blood cells to cats is possible but haemolysis should be expected between 1 and 6 days after transfusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Grouping and Crossmatching / veterinary
  • Blood Transfusion / veterinary
  • Cat Diseases*
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Hematocrit / veterinary
  • Transfusion Reaction / veterinary*