Feline blood donation adverse reactions: classification and description of acute and delayed reactions in a donor population

J Feline Med Surg. 2022 Apr;24(4):284-289. doi: 10.1177/1098612X211020295. Epub 2021 Jun 8.


Objectives: This article aims to analyse the safety of feline blood donation by describing the frequency and nature of any adverse reactions and their causes, as well as propose measures to decrease the incidence of adverse reactions.

Methods: In this prospective study, any blood donor adverse reactions detected by the clinical staff during and immediately after donation were recorded. The owners of the cats were also surveyed by a veterinary practitioner or veterinary nurse 5 days after donation, using a predefined questionnaire to assess for any clinical or behavioural changes. Data were collected between January 2019 and March 2020 from blood donors enrolled in an animal blood bank programme.

Results: Of 3690 blood donations from 1792 feline donors assessed, post-donation reactions were reported in 1.14% (n = 42): 0.22% (n = 8) were acute reactions, which included weakness, pallor, tachypnoea and open-mouth breathing; and 0.92% (n = 34) were delayed post-donation reactions, with 0.16% involving cutaneous (haematomas and skin rashes, n = 6), 0.68% involving behavioural (n = 25) and 0.08% involving digestive (emesis and inappetence, n = 3) signs.

Conclusions and relevance: The low incidence of post-donation reactions in this study is encouraging, suggesting that a well-established protocol and competent staff can help to ensure a high level of safety in a feline donor programme and, in turn, increase the confidence of cat owners.

Keywords: Blood donation; acute; adverse reaction; delayed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Donors*
  • Cats
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires