Blood transfusions can save the lives of injured or poisoned companion animals. I have rarely seen this discussed. Although the use of a blood transfusions as a treatment takes place more commonly for the benefit of dogs the procedure also applies to cats. However blood typing appears to be more critical for cats. There is even a case where a cat, Rory, received a transfusion of dog’s blood which saved his life after ingesting rat poison.
I’ll briefly describe two cases including the one referred to above. Blood transfusions as a way of treating poisoning must depend on the type of poison and how fast it acts. If the poison has damaged a vital organ changing the cat’s blood will not assist or the benefits will be much reduced. It certainly applies to rat poison.
Dog to dog transfusion for rat poisoning
This story is recent. Ace, a labrador, was walking around her partner’s farm when he drank rat poison. Mr Muir-Smith rushed him to a vet who transferred him to an emergency center where they informed the owner that a blood transfusion was his only chance of survival.
Facebook was used to appeal for a dog with the same blood type. A friend, Stacey’s dog fitted the bill. Hours after the transfusion Ace picked up. He returned home within two days.
Stacey asked how many dogs have died when they could have been saved if given a blood transfusion. The example should encourage dog owners to put their dogs on the blood donor register (UK).
Dog to cat transfusion for rat poisoning
This story is dated August 2013 and comes from New Zealand. This is another example of dogs benefiting cats rather than chasing them!
Rory, a ginger tabby, ate rat poison. He was at death’s door howling in pain and unable to move.
It is critical to transfuse blood of the correct type (catogories A, B or AB) to a cat otherwise it might prove fatal.
It was impossible a that moment to test Rory’s blood for type because the blood laboratory was closed.
Under intense pressure of time and desperate circumstances, the vet, Kate Heller, called a friend who owned a Labrador, Macy. She agreed that Macy could give blood.
It was transfused into Rory and within an hour he was purring and eating!
“Inter-species blood transfusions are not common, nor are they recommended.”
Rory made a full recovery, as far as I am aware, and he does not bark!
Cat blood donors
Cats can give 11-13 millilitres per kilogram of weight. This normally means 60 millilitres (ml). There is a pet blood bank in the UK but there are dogs all over the website so it may be exclusively canine. I hope not.