Every drop counts

More than 12 blood groups have been identified in dogs but 7 of them are more common. Find out your dog’s blood group in advance so that you’re prepared for emergencies. Photo by Testalize.me on Unsplash

Dog Blood Groups

Dog blood groups are listed as DEA — Dog Erythrocyte Antigen. The ‘Dog’ in DEA is pretty obvious, ‘Erythrocyte’ means Red Blood Cell, and ‘Antigen’ is for the substances on the surface of the red blood cells that trigger a response from the body’s immune system. So DEA is essentially dog red blood cell antigens. Whether or not a particular antigen is found on the dog’s red blood cells determines if the dog is positive or negative for it.

Canine Blood Donation

With inputs from Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Clinic (mentioned as Cessna in some places), here is some general information about Canine Blood Donation:

By donating and actively being a part of blood donation a pet parent is creating an opportunity to save pet lives during times of emergency. Photo by Paolo Celentano on Unsplash
  • Weighing above 25kgs (dogs)
  • Healthy and Fit
  • Good Temperament (Dogs who are anxious, nervous, wary of new people, or have a fear of the vets, will most likely find the donation process stressful.)
  • Vaccinated
  • Free from infectious diseases
  • Never travelled abroad
  • Call from hospital:
    If a dog requires a blood transfusion, the hospital will call the pet parent to ask if they are available to bring their donor dog over. If yes, they will be asked to come to the hospital.
  • Physical examination:
    One of the vets at the hospital will do a complete history and physical examination to ensure the donor dog’s fitness to donate blood.
  • Blood test:
    This is a mandatory step for blood donation to ensure the pet’s health is in good condition. A small sample of blood will be taken aseptically from the neck area. The tests will be run in the lab immediately to assess whether the vitals are normal before blood donation. Only a blood test report with all parameters normal will qualify the dog to donate blood.
  • Donation:
    Once all the tests are cleared, blood will be drawn from the jugular area of the pet as required, aseptically.
  • Post-donation:
    The vet will do a quick checkup to ensure your donor dog is okay before allowing you to take them back home.
  • After:
    The blood donation process is quick and comfortable for most dogs, but it is advisable to take it easy for the rest of the day. Continue with your dog’s regular feeding schedule post-donation, and ensure they have access to fresh, clean water. Avoid using choke or pinch collars on your dog. Avoid tight collars and harnesses that may put pressure on the neck too. Keep the bandage dry and leave it on for at least an hour post-procedure to prevent bruising and swelling. Some dogs may feel tired after donating blood, just like human blood donors. Contact your vet if there is extensive bruising at the needle prick site or if your dog seems unwell over 2 weeks after donation.
  • Risks:
    Most blood transfusions are safe and effective. The donor dog may feel tired after donating blood. Beyond that, there isn’t much risk for them. The recipient dog may have an adverse reaction to the donated blood due to faulty type matching. Improper blood screening may lead to infections from contaminated blood and decrease blood calcium levels. Fluid may accumulate in the lungs if a dog receives an extremely large volume of blood. Skin hives, fever, or vomiting may also happen occasionally. As long as the screening and matching process is done thoroughly, there is minimal risk of any of these.

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