Tuesday, June 14, 2011
What Is Your Dog's Blood Type?
In honor of World Blood Donor Day, which is today, I learned that dogs have blood types similar to humans.
What is blood typing?
Blood typing is a test that determines the blood type of an animal. Like people, dogs have different blood types. Blood typing can be crucial prior to a blood transfusion and determining the blood type can help reduce the risk of transfusion reactions. Since blood types do not change, this test is only needed once in a pet's life, as long as the results are recorded and readily available should future transfusions be needed.
Blood types in dogs.
In dogs, DEA 1.1 (Dog Erythrocyte Antigen) has been found to be the part of the blood type most likely to cause a transfusion reaction. The blood type in dogs is either DEA 1.1 positive or DEA 1.1 negative. There are however, other parts to the canine blood type, including DEA 1.2, DEA 3, DEA 4, DEA 5 and DEA 7. In order to determine the full blood type, blood needs to be submitted to a special laboratory.
How to determine blood types?
In order to perform a blood typing, your veterinarian must draw a blood sample. One drop of blood is placed in a well on a special card, impregnated with certain proteins. A drop of blood typing fluid is placed on the blood drop and mixed, and the fluid is rocked on the card for about one minute. The fluid is then examined for agglutination, which appears as clumping and resembles ground red pepper. In dogs, if agglutination is present, the dog is DEA 1.1 positive.
Some diseases and disorders result in agglutination of the blood. In these patients, it is not possible to determine the pet's blood type in a hospital setting. Their blood may need to be submitted to a special laboratory able to detect the blood type despite the presence of naturally occurring agglutination.
For dogs, a more extensive blood type may be needed. Since dogs have multiple parts to their blood type, the blood is submitted to a specific laboratory that is able to determine the dog's entire blood type.