Xenotransfusion is the transfusion of blood from one species to another. With varying availability of allogenic feline blood (AFB) and in emergency conditions, circumstances occur when canine blood is transfused to cats. This study aimed to characterise the indications, effectiveness, limitations, and acute and late transfusion-related adverse effects of canine blood xenotransfusion compared with matched AFB to anaemic cats, and their survival and longer-term outcome.
The authors of this retrospective study (2013-2020) examined cats receiving canine blood xenotransfusions or AFB.
The study included 311 cats (xenotransfusion [X-group], n = 105; allotransfusion [A-group], n = 206). Xenotransfusion was more frequent among cats sustaining haemorrhage than in those with haemolysis (P <0.01) or hypoproliferative anaemia (P <0.001). Financial constraints were the most common reason to elect xenotransfusion (49%). The post-transfusion mean packed cell volume was higher (P <0.001) in the X-group (22%) compared with the A-group (18%), and also higher (P <0.001) at 48-96 h post-transfusion (23% vs 18%, respectively). Transfusion-related adverse effects (TRAEs) were more frequent (P = 0.001) in the X-group (37.1%) compared with the A-group (19.4%), as were delayed haemolytic transfusion reactions (85% vs 42.5%, respectively; P<0.001). Acute transfusion reactions (ATRs) were more frequent (P <0.001) in the A-group (60%) compared with the X-group (20%). TRAEs were unassociated with survival to discharge. The survival to discharge rate of the X-group (55%) was lower (P = 0.007) than in the A-group (73%), while post-discharge survival rates to 30 days of cats surviving to discharge were 90% and 88%, respectively (P = 0.85).
To conclude, canine blood xenotransfusions to cats might save lives in emergency conditions when AFB is unavailable, or blood typing is infeasible. The survival to discharge rate of the X-group was lower than that of the A-group. The longer-term survival rate of cats administered xenotransfusions and surviving to discharge from the hospital was good.
“Retrospective study of canine blood xenotransfusion compared with type-matched feline blood allotransfusion to cats: indications, effectiveness, limitations and adverse effects”. Maria Elkin, et al. J Feline Med Surg. 2023 Jul;25(7):1098612X231183930. doi: 10.1177/1098612X231183930.