Dogs and cats also have blood types, different from each other and different from humans. Within our hospital, we maintain a blood bank which stocks typed and species-specific blood and blood components that are immediately available to our patients should the need arise.
Many diseases that veterinary internists treat can result in anemia or other conditions where transfusion therapy is needed. Therefore, having immediate access to life-saving blood and blood components is critical to treating patients with certain disorders.
The blood we maintain in the blood bank is either purchased from a national blood bank, or obtained locally from a group of community donors whose families have enrolled them in our donor program and who periodically come to the hospital to donate.
All blood products we administer have been screened for infectious diseases, and the blood “type” is determined. This is important to prevent transmission of infectious agents to your pet, and to avoid serious and possibly fatal transfusion reactions.
If you have been told by a veterinarian that your pet needs a blood transfusion, you should ask if the blood type matches your pet’s blood type, and which infectious diseases the blood has been screened for.
Our blood bank is available 24/7 to local veterinarians should they have a need for blood during the treatment of a patient within their own hospital.