Blood transfusions and dogs


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A number of reactions may occur if blood or an organ is transfused. A majority of reactions generally happens either during or a little time after the transfusion. Dogs which are pure bred, and which haveBlood transfusions earlier are at much greater risk of lethal reactions to transfusions compared to other dogs. This condition can affect both dogs and cats.

Symptoms and the types

Blood transfusion reactions can be classified by any one of following conditions: acute or immediate reaction, delayed reaction or immune system related. Acute symptoms to blood transfusion include incontinence, fever, weakness, collapse, shock, vomiting and a general transfusion effectiveness loss. The symptoms of delayed reaction are generally not apparent at that time. It results only transfusion effectiveness loss. The symptoms differ depending on cause. The transfusion of the contaminated blood could lead to septicemia, fever and shock. There could be circulatory overload due to excessive or rapid transfusion and this could lead to heart failure, vomiting and cough. Hypothermia can be an effect of transfusing cold refrigerated blood. This generally happens in smaller dogs. This is apparent by impaired platelet function and shivering.


Multiple circumstances could be responsible for blood transfusion reaction. These includes mismatched blood type transfusion, contaminated blood transfusion and the consequent blood borne disease due to an infected donor. There could also be a circulatory overload due to too much amounts of transfusion, or the process is done too quickly. Other causes include damaged red blood cells transfusion which is the result of being stored in an improper manner. Other than these causes, the immune system of the dog could react to a number of components present in donor's blood. The symptoms will usually be seen anytime between three days to 14 days.Diagnosis to any blood transfusion reaction is based majorly on the symptoms which appear post transfusion. The list of test includes urine analysis, blood type retesting to confirm donor blood rejection and bacteria analysis of transfused blood. The symptoms of reactions which result in hypertension or fever could be diagnosed as inflammatory disease. This could also be the result of an infectious disease.


In case your dog shows a reaction to blood transfusion, the veterinarian will quickly discontinue this transfusion. Fluids will be administered to maintain the blood pressure of the dog and the blood circulation. The reaction's cause and severity will determine whether additional interventions are needed. Specific treatment do depend on symptoms and causes. They may also be administered via medication. To give an example, the intravenous (IV) antibiotics could be provided for septicemia. It could also be given for bacterial infection. The dog's basic vital signs like pulse and breathing must be tracked prior to, during and post blood transfusion.

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