You can give a cat a blood transfusion with canine blood once only

Treating an anemic cat with a blood transfusion of canine blood
Treating an anemic cat with a blood transfusion of canine blood can only occur once. Picture in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The transfusion of blood from another species to another (called xenotransfusion), in this case, canine blood to a cat has been performed and it is still performed nowadays in some countries. It was performed recently in the UK when a friendly, female domestic shorthair cat, Princess, very suddenly became lethargic and withdrawn at home. She showed signs of severe anaemia and her condition was life-threatening. A veterinarian conducted extensive investigations which revealed a severe infection within her liver resulting in anaemia.

Her condition was deteriorating rapidly. Under these emergency situations and where, as I understand it, there was no ready supply of feline blood, it is possible to use canine blood on a one-off basis which is what happened and which saved Princess’s life. The story in The Northern Echo newspaper does not tell us about the limitations of such a treatment.

Mrs Little, Princess’s owner said:

We can’t thank Wear Referrals enough for everything they have done for Princess. The dog blood transfusion saved her life.


A study published on the Pub Med website explains the limitations (Xenotransfusion with canine blood in the feline species: review of the literature). The scientists make it clear that cats do not fight the alien blood with antibodies because they do not have any naturally-occurring antibodies against a dog’s red blood cell antigens. Therefore there is no adverse reaction. Quite the contrary, cats receiving canine blood for the first and only time are reported to improve clinically within hours.

However, the cat starts to create antibodies against the dog’s red blood cells and after 4 to 7 days they can be detected. They destroy the red blood cells of the dog’s blood in a delayed reaction. So the red blood cells are killed and have a lifespan of about four days.

If a veterinarian tried to do a follow-up blood transfusion with canine blood into a cat later than 4-6 days after the first transfusion it would cause anaphylaxis which could kill the cat. That explains the limitations of this successful treatment which can only be carried out in an emergency.

5 serious pet illnesses symptoms as per a vet clinic on TikTok

8 pet health emergency symptoms needing immediate vet attention (according to vets)

This is a charming, clever little video made by an American veterinary clinic called Alicia Pet Care Center. They describe ...
Flea infested flat

Can fleas kill kittens?

Yes, fleas can kill kittens and we have a story today in the online news media to substantiate that statement ...
Pale gums in cat with anemia

Why does my cat eat soil?

Why does my cat eat soil? Dr Fogle DVM tells us in Complete Cat Care that, 'Some anaemic cats lick ...
Pale gums in cat with anemia

Cat Anemia Home Treatment

There are many possible causes of feline anemia. Therefore a diagnosis by a veterinarian is strongly advised to find and ...
VAPE smoke

Second-hand Vaping: Heinz Body Anemia

This is a short follow-up to my previous article about the possible effect on domestic cats of electronic cigarette smoking ...
cat with feline anemia

Kitten with Severe Anemia and Low Temp

Hi,I just today had to put my 5 month old kitten to sleep. He had been tested early on for ...
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important
Scroll to Top