A blood transfusion is a medical procedure sometimes needed for a pet. A blood transfusion is used in dogs and cats to treat symptoms of anemia. Anemia is a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood, or a lowered ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Anemia can be caused by disease, surgery, toxicity, or trauma. The goal of a blood transfusion is to replace red blood cells so that proper oxygenation of organs can occur. A blood transfusion may need to be repeated until the primary cause of anemia is managed.
Before your pet is given a blood transfusion, your pet will be cross-matched with the donor blood to determine compatibility. An IV catheter will be placed for the blood transfusion. The transfusion could last up to four hours. Once the transfusion is done, your pet will be monitored for several hours to ensure that they are stable. Your pet will also be monitored for signs of an adverse reaction to the blood transfusion such as vomiting, increased respiratory effort, edema or hives by one of our skilled veterinary technicians.