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J Feline Med Surg. 2004 Jun;6(3):139-48.

Whole blood transfusions in 91 cats: a clinical evaluation.

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Clinic for Small Animals, Free University of Berlin, Oertzenweg 19b, D-14163 Berlin, Germany.


This survey assessed the feline transfusion practices at the University of Berlin from 1998 to 2001 in regard to patient population, indications, efficacy, and transfusion reactions. Blood was obtained from seven healthy in-house donors and 127 mostly indoor client-owned pet cats. Over a 3-year period 91 cats were transfused with blood type compatible blood. The blood was fresh (within 8 h of collection) or stored no longer than 15 days. Transfusions were required because of blood loss anaemia (n=40), haemolytic anaemia (n=13), ineffective erythropoiesis (n=35), hypoproteinaemia (n=2) or coagulopathy (n=2). The anaemic cats had a pretransfusion haematocrit of 5-20% (m [median]=13), and received one to six transfusions (m=1). The survival rates of the anaemic cats at 1 and 10 days after transfusion were 84 and 64%, respectively. None of the deaths appeared to be related to transfusion reactions. The major crossmatch, undertaken before 117 transfusions, was incompatible for eight cats. All except for one had previously been transfused. Lysis of transfused cells in six cases resulted in a less than expected haematocrit rise and an increase in serum bilirubin. Transient mild transfusion reactions were only noted in two cats during the second or third transfusion. In conclusion, with proper donor selection and appropriate compatibility screening, blood transfusions are well tolerated, appear effective, and may increase chances of survival.

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