Canine and feline blood transfusions: controversies and recent advances in administration practices

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Abstract

Objectives

To discuss and review blood transfusion practices in dogs and cats including collection and storage of blood and administration of products. To report new developments, controversial practices, less conventional blood product administration techniques and where applicable, describe the relevance to anaesthetists and anaesthesia.

Databases used

PubMed and Google Scholar using dog, cat, blood transfusion, packed red blood cells and whole blood as keywords.

Conclusions

Blood transfusions improve oxygen carrying capacity and the clinical signs of anaemia. However there are numerous potential risks and complications possible with transfusions, which may outweigh their benefits. Storage of blood products has improved considerably over time but whilst extended storage times may improve their availability, a phenomenon known as the storage lesion has been identified which affects erythrocyte viability and survival. Leukoreduction involves removing leukocytes and platelets thereby preventing their release of cytokines and bioactive compounds which also contribute to storage lesions and certain transfusion reactions. Newer transfusion techniques are being explored such as cell salvage in surgical patients and subsequent autologous transfusion. Xenotransfusions, using blood and blood products between different species, provide an alternative to conventional blood products.

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