Do Dogs and Cats Have Different Blood Types, Like Humans Do?

Yes. And our pets sometimes need transfusions, too, so it’s always handy to know what type of blood Spot or Fluffy has (if he or she has had any blood work done, the vet will have this information).

Feline blood types are divided into three groups: A, B, and AB. About 90 percent of domestic cats in the U.S. have type A blood; B is usually found in some of the more exotic purebreds. AB is the rarest type. No one type is a universal donor when it comes to cats.

Canine blood types are denoted by “DEA,” or Dog Erythrocyte Antigen, and are broken down into eight categories:
DEA 1.1
DEA 1.2
DEA 3
DEA 4
DEA 5
DEA 7
DEA 8

Dogs that are DEA 1.1 positive can be considered to be universal recipients, while DEA 1.1 negative pooches (60 percent of greyhounds fall into this category) are universal donors.

If an animal needs an emergency transfusion, the first thing the vet does is check for any other animals in the clinic at that time that are suitable donors. If there are none available, they then start checking local animal blood banks. Dogs can be regular blood donors if they weigh 55 pounds or more and (if female) are spayed and have never been pregnant. (Pregnancy can add antibodies to the dog’s blood that might cause rejection by the recipient.) Not as many animal blood banks have regular cat donors, however; because of their nature, cats have to be anesthetized before they can be “tapped.” Luckily, since the majority of felines are type A, if blood is needed, there’s usually another cat in-house that can be used for a quick fix.

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December 18, 2012 - 4:30am
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