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Can dogs accept human blood?


Xenotransfusion (from Greek xenos- strange or foreign), a form of xenotransplantation, was initially defined as the transfer of blood from one species into the veins of another. [1] In most cases, it is a transfer of blood between a non-human animal and a human. However, further experimentation has been done between various non-human animal species. This procedure can be performed without affecting the health of the donor, as only about 10% of their blood volume is used each time. [2] Utilizing the unlimited blood supply from animal sources eliminates the risk of transmitting infectious diseases between humans. [1]

In 1658, Dom Robert des Gabets, a French monk, introduced the idea of xenotransfusion at a scientific society meeting. This society later afforded the French Academy of Sciences. [1] Currently there are no laws prohibiting the practice of xenotransfusion, but some ethical issues have been identified by the Ethics Committee of the International Xenotransplantation Association (IXA). [2] For example, the IXA sets standards and regulations for those planning to orchestrate clinical xenotransplantation trials. [3] The IXA has identified three major ethical areas that require adequate attention: favorable risk and benefit assessment supported by pre-clinical data, lack of alternative treatment for participants, and minimizing the risk of infection by ensuring the highest biosafety regulations are followed for selected animal donors. These are just a few examples of the ethics behind xenotransplantation.

History [ edit ]

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Jean-Baptiste Denis, a French physician, and Paul Emmerez, a surgeon, performed the first documented xenotransfusion on June 15, 1667. The transfusion occurred between a lamb and a 15-year-old boy. [1] [4] Carotid artery blood from the lamb was introduced to a vein in the patient’s inner elbow, and the procedure ultimately resulted in a successful recovery. [4] Denis and Emmerez performed multiple xenotransfusions together. On June 24, 1667, the duo performed a transfusion on a young Swedish nobleman. [1] When they arrived, the patient had already lost his ability to speak and was practically unconscious. Shortly after the transfusion began, the patient was able to speak again. His health was improving until his condition grew progressively worse. A second transfusion took place, but it was unsuccessful, and the patient died.

Richard Lower, an English physician, performed a similar procedure on November 23, 1667. [1] [4] He successfully transfused the blood of a lamb to a 22-year-old man. [1] In both cases, the whole blood of the lamb was directly introduced into the vein of the patient. The direct introduction of blood was due to a lack of knowledge in preventative blood coagulation techniques at the time.

After several xenotransfusion procedures, some successful some not, the French Parliament prohibited the practice of these transfusions in 1670. [4] The English Parliament, as well as the Pope, followed suit and prohibited the procedures shortly after.

Ethical arguments involving the pig for xenotransfusion [ edit ]

Xenotransfusion uses non-human animals to aid in the shortage of blood for blood transfusion in humans. Although there needs to be additional studies on the topic, some scientists are favoring Sus scrofa domesticus (pigs) as a source of blood for transfusions after having tested many different animals in order to find the best candidate for a blood donation. Pig red blood cells (pRBCs) show many characteristics similar to that of a human including: RBC diameters (pig 6 μm; human 7.2 μm), RBC counts (pig 5.7 to 6.9 million/ll; human 4.2 to 6.2 million/ll), and RBC average lifespan (human 86 days; pig 120 days). [5] Current evidence shows that pRBCs will function normally in humans due to a relation between porcine blood groups and human ABO group system. [6] In addition, it is possible to produce pigs with type O blood and to genetically modify pigs to make their blood more compatible with humans. Sus scrofa domesticus’s blood will be used to save lives and to increase blood quantity. The organism will be kept alive and no serious harm will be involved in XTF. It will be similar to how blood is removed from humans. Only 10% of the animal’s blood volume will be used each time, therefore, it is ethically acceptable to raise pigs for periodical blood collection as it does not damage the health of the animal. It will also be ethical to use pRBCs on humans since it will not cause a severe harm on human’s health. [7] At the moment XTF is not a real necessity because a lot of people are willing to donate their blood and there is not a significant shortage on blood. [ citation needed ]

Veterinary xenotransfusion [ edit ]

Transfusion of canine blood into domestic cats was performed historically and continues to be performed in some countries. [8]

Xenotransfusions have been performed on birds, though the procedure is only done to stabilize a bird in shock, due to rejection by the recipient bird’s antibodies. [9]

Xenotransfusion of bovine whole blood into domestic goats has been preliminarily investigated as a potential option for anemic goats. [10] When comparing caprine-recipient bovine-donor cross matching a study found 11/15 caprine-bovine combinations compatible on both major and minor cross matching. [10] [11]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ abcdefg Roux, Françoise A.; Saï, Pierre; Deschamps, Jack-Yves (2007). «Xenotransfusions, past and present». Xenotransplantation. 14 (3): 208–216. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3089.2007.00404.x. ISSN0908-665X. PMID17489860. S2CID42016125.
  2. ^ ab
  3. Roux, Françoise A.; Saï, Pierre; Deschamps, Jack-Yves (2007). «Some ethical issues regarding xenotransfusion». Xenotransplantation. 14 (3): 217–221. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3089.2007.00393.x. ISSN0908-665X. PMID17489861. S2CID25416442.
  4. ^
  5. Cozzi, Emanuele; Tallacchini, Mariachiara; Flanagan, Enda B.; Pierson III, Richard N.; Sykes, Megan; Vanderpool, Harold Y. (2009). «Chapter 1: Key ethical requirements and progress toward the definition of an international regulatory framework». Xenotransplantation. 16 (4): 203–214. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3089.2009.00540.x. ISSN0908-665X. PMID19799760. S2CID9462426.
  6. ^ abcd
  7. Deschamps, Jack-Yves; Roux, Francoise A.; Sai, Pierre; Gouin, Edouard (2005). «History of xenotransplantation». Xenotransplantation. 12 (2): 91–109. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3089.2004.00199.x. ISSN0908-665X. PMID15693840. S2CID20495953.
  8. ^
  9. Cooper, David (September 2003). «Porcine red blood cells as a source of blood transfusion in humans». Xenotransplantation. 10 (5): 384–386. doi:10.1034/j.1399-3089.2003.00092.x. PMID12950981. S2CID35821685.
  10. ^
  11. Zhu, Alex (30 November 1999). «Introduction to porcine red blood cells: Implications for xenotransfusion». Seminars in Hematology. 37 (2): 143–149. doi:10.1016/s0037-1963(00)90039-8. PMID10791883.
  12. ^
  13. Françoise, Roux (May 2007). «Some Ethical Issues Regarding Xenotransfusion». Xenotransplantation. 14 (3): 217–221. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3089.2007.00393.x. PMID17489861. S2CID25416442.
  14. ^
  15. Bovens (Feb 2013), «Xenotransfusion with canine blood in the feline species;review of the literature», Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 15 (2): 62–67, doi: 10.1177/1098612X12460530 , PMID22983454
  16. ^
  17. Russo, Carmen (June 22, 2018). «Fact-Checking Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom». Slate. Birds often receive cross-species transfusions because they do not have blood types and there are thousands of different species. These procedures are only done to buy time to stabilize a creature in shock. «Whenever you go across species, the red blood cells are destroyed, and it varies how long they last. It can be as short as half a day, or five to six days [. ] But what that gives you is time to stabilize the animal and provide other life-supportive measures.»
  18. ^ ab Smith JS, Viall AK, Breuer RM, Walton RA, Plummer PJ, Griffith RW and Kreuder AJ (2021) Preliminary Investigation of Bovine Whole Blood Xenotransfusion as a Therapeutic Modality for the Treatment of Anemia in Goats. Front. Vet. Sci. 8:637988.
  19. doi:10.3389/fvets.2021.637988
  20. ^
  21. Smith, Joe S.; Viall, Austin K.; Breuer, Ryan M.; Walton, Rebecca A.; Plummer, Paul J.; Griffith, Ronald W.; Kreuder, Amanda J. (2021). «Preliminary Investigation of Bovine Whole Blood Xenotransfusion as a Therapeutic Modality for the Treatment of Anemia in Goats». Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 8: 637988. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.637988 . PMC7969644 . PMID33748213.

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Dog blood donation: what pet owners need to know

Dog blood donor

Blood donation isn’t just for humans – your dogs can donate blood too.

It doesn’t bear thinking about, but if your dog needed treatment for blood loss from something like a car accident, they’d need a suitable canine donation – and that’s where dog blood donation comes in.

A cat waving whilst a dog hides its face

Pet insurance with up to £15,000 vet fee cover.

A cat waving whilst a dog hides its face

As veterinary medicine advances and pet insurance covers the costs of more elaborate treatments, there’s more than ever that vets can do for pets. And the demand for pet blood donors is expected to continue to grow to meet demand.

In 2021-2022, Pet Blood Bank collected over 3,000 units of blood and sent out over 5,000 units of blood products to vets around the UK.

Every unit of blood can help to save the lives of up to four dogs, which means donor dogs in the PBB network could have helped save up to 20,000 dogs in need last year.

In addition, some veterinary practices maintain a list of donor dogs that they can reach out to for donation in emergencies.

When does a dog need a blood transfusion?

There are many reasons why a dog might need a blood transfusion.

Dogs are susceptible to many of the same conditions humans get, such as different types of anaemia, blood clotting disorders, blood cancers or autoimmune disease. Blood transfusions might be needed during surgery, too.

Dogs can also need blood due an accident or an injury, just like a human might when in a bad car accident.

For example, in September 2018, the BBC filmed the reunion of cocker spaniel Bentley whose life was saved when he received a blood donation from Greyhound Alex after Bentley ingested rat poison and needed an emergency transfusion.

Dog blood donor criteria

If you’re interested in letting your dog help others by donating blood, you’ll need to make sure they meet a few criteria.

To donate blood, your dog needs to be healthy and be over a certain weight.

They’ll also need to meet this donor eligibility criteria outlined by the Pet Blood Bank:

  • your dog needs to be fit and healthy
  • weight at least 25kg
  • has not been abroad
  • is between one and eight years old
  • has all its vaccinations up to date
  • has a good temperament

Dog blood donation centres near me

If you’re wondering where to take your dog to donate blood, Pet Blood Bank has a blood donation session locator that you can use to find the nearest canine blood donation venue.

If you can’t find one near you, you can still register your dog with Pet Blood Bank. Areas where they run sessions and need dogs from across the country to donate are increasing all the time.

You can also speak to your vet about adding your dog to their emergency donor list.

You can call Pet Blood Bank to have a chat about what happens at a donation session and they can answer any questions you have. You can also visit their Facebook page where you can ask other dog owners what it is like.

What happens during donation?

Your blood donation appointment shouldn’t take longer than an hour altogether. The donation itself takes five-10 minutes.

Before your dog can donate, they’ll have a health check by a vet including a physical examination, to make sure they’re fit and well to donate.

Then a small blood sample will be taken for testing to further confirm your dog’s health and eligibility to donate. Blood is usually taken by clipping a small bit of fur around the neck and disinfecting the area before proceeding to take the blood.

If everything is ok your dog will be proceeded to the donation. A qualified veterinary professional will take one unit of blood which is approx. 450ml.

After donating, you will be asked to stay at the donation venue for a short time to allow your dog to have a drink, something to eat and to be observed by the team.

Dog blood types

Just like us, dogs have different blood types.

In the UK, dogs are type DEA 1. They can either be DEA 1 Positive or DEA 1 Negative.

Pet Blood Bank told us that their research shows that 70% of dogs appear to be DEA 1 Positive while only 30% are DEA 1 Negative.

Dogs with DEA 1 Negative blood type can only receive DEA 1 Negative blood whereas dogs with DEA 1 Positive can receive either Positive or Negative blood.

«Our stock levels of DEA 1 Negative blood are currently very low and so we need more dogs of this type to register,» Pet Blood Bank say.

Certain breeds of dog are more likely to have this blood type including Boxers, Dobermans, Flat Coated Retrievers, German Shepherds, Greyhounds, Lurchers and Weimaraners,» Wendy Barnett, clinical director at Pet Blood Bank told us.

Dog donor register

Pet Blood Bank UK maintains a register of blood donor dogs. You can register your dog on their website. You will be asked to fill out a short form that will help Pet Blood Bank determine your dog’s eligibility based on age, health, weight, etc.

Cat blood donation

There isn’t a feline donation programme in the UK at present, however, Pet Blood Bank UK is working towards establishing a cat blood bank in the very near future.

If you want to volunteer your cat to donate blood, speak to your vet or get in touch with the Royal Veterinary College which has a programme for dog, horse and cat blood donation. As a reward your cat will be given a free health check, including a heart scan and tests for feline leukaemia and immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Can Your Dog Donate Blood?

Adrienne Kruzer, RVT, LVT

Adrienne Kruzer is a veterinary technician with more than 15 years of experience providing healthcare to domestic and exotic animals. She is trained as a Fear Free Certified Professional to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.

Updated on 06/22/22
Reviewed by

Bartley Harrison

Dr. Bartley Harrison is a veterinarian with more than 15 years of professional veterinary experience treating dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds, and small mammals, with a specific focus on Emergency Medicine. Dr. Harrison is part of The Spruce Pets’ veterinary review board.

Dog donating blood

Just like people, dogs can be blood donors to dogs in need. There are usually certain requirements that a donor dog must meet in order to give blood, but it is usually a very simple collection process. A better understanding of dog blood donations may help you decide whether or not your dog can be a donor and help other dogs.

Dog Blood Types

There are several different dog blood types, or groups, that can be tested for and they are ordered numerically in the dog erythrocyte antigen (DEA) system. These blood types include DEA 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3, 4, 5, and 7. Several other types also exist, but there are no tests for them. Dogs can have multiple different blood types at one time since the types of blood refer to the different antigens the blood contains.

Typing Dog Blood

In order to determine what type of blood your dog has, it must be tested to see what antigens it contains. Your veterinarian will take a blood sample from your dog and run a test to get results. Not every veterinarian is able to perform these tests in-house though, so the samples may need to be sent to an external laboratory. The tests will check to see which antigens are present on the red blood cells which will determine the blood type of your dog.

Reasons a Dog Would Need Donated Blood

Just like people, some dogs lose large amounts of blood due to disease, surgery, or trauma and therefore require a blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are not performed by every veterinarian so specialty or emergency hospitals may be utilized for this procedure.

The first transfusion a dog receives can be with any type of blood but if subsequent transfusions are needed the blood will need to be typed and crossmatched. Crossmatching blood ensures that the blood types are compatible between the donor and the recipient.

When Can a Dog Donate Blood?

Most veterinarians have specific requirements to ensure blood donors are of a certain size and healthy enough to handle giving blood. Fifty pounds is usually the minimum weight required for a dog to be a blood donor. They must also be friendly; free of infectious, blood-borne diseases and parasites, such as heartworms and Lyme disease; be up to date on vaccinations; not be on any medications other than the typical parasite preventatives; and be between one and seven years of age.

Dogs can only donate blood once every 4-6 weeks, so if your dog is requested to give blood more frequently it should not do so, for its own safety. Most veterinarians will check to make sure that donors have an adequate red blood cell concentration before donating. Frequent blood donors may need iron supplementation to prevent long-term problems.

How Does a Dog Donate Blood?

Giving blood is a very simple process. If your dog meets the physical, age, and temperament requirements to be a blood donor, it will need to be tested for blood-borne diseases and receive any vaccinations necessary in order to be current. Once the blood-borne disease tests have been determined to be negative, your dog can give blood.

The blood is drawn from the large vein in your dog’s neck, called the jugular, and collected into a special bag or jar to be used to transfuse another dog. The entire donation procedure typically takes less than an hour. Some dogs may need a mild sedative to help make the procedure less stressful, and IV fluids may be administered depending on the amount donated.

Dog Blood Banks and Blood Donor Programs

Usually a dog gives blood as needed, so you and your blood donor may be on-call for emergency donations at your local animal hospital that performs blood transfusions. Each hospital that utilizes dog blood will have their own program requirements and may even reward the donors with credits on their veterinary hospital account.

The other option is to donate blood to a dog blood bank. A few non-profit blood banks exist in the country that sells blood to veterinarians. These blood banks are especially important for dogs who need more than one transfusion. Since the first blood transfusion can utilize any blood type but subsequent transfusions require crossmatching or a universal donor, it is important to know what type of blood a donor dog has and have different types available for these dogs. Blood banks will type the blood they receive in order to know whether the blood has the universal donor type or contains other specific antigens that some dogs may or may not be able to receive.

Other Types of Blood Products Used in Dogs

In addition to whole blood, packed red blood cells, different forms of plasma, and cryoprecipitate may be collected to be used. Unlike whole blood, these products can usually be stored for longer periods of time to be used at a later date. If a dog does not need whole blood, a donor is not available, or specific clotting factors are needed, veterinarians may be able to utilize plasma, packed red blood cells, or cryoprecipitate.

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