Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Blood groups and blood transfusion

Contributor(s): Patrick Craig, Jo Oultram

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Overview

  • Of all the domestic animals, cattle have the most complex blood groups – comprised of: A, B, C, F, J (Soluble antigen), L, M, R, S, T and Z. Of these 11 group systems, B and J groups are the two major systems of clinical importance.
  • The ‘B’ group comprises over 60 different antigens and this poses some clinical challenges when trying to cross match donors with recipients. This complexity can be advantageous, however, when it comes to identifying individual animals via blood sample.
  • The ‘J’ antigen is a lipid, found in body fluid. It is adsorbed onto bovine erythrocytes from serum and is somewhat similar to the human ‘A’ antigen. Newborn calves do not possess the J antigen at birth, but acquire it during early life.
  • In cases where cross-matching is carried out, transfused erythrocytes could live for between 2 and 4 days compared to the normal lifespan of approximately 160 days. This small window of opportunity will allow for endogenous hematopoesis to fill the deficit.  

Indications for blood transfusion

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Selection of donor cow

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Equipment for blood collection and infusion

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Anticoagulant solution

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Blood collection procedure

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Blood infusion to recipient

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Balekar N S et al (2009) Blood group systems and blood transfusion of animals. IJPCR 1 (2), 50-54.
  • Bell G (2006) Clinical: Blood transfusions in cattle. UK Vet 11, 39-43.
  • Soldan A (1999) In Practice. 21, 590-595

Other sources of information

  • O’Driscoll A et al (2013) Cow blood transfusion tips. New Zealand veterinary Association.
  • Marcel Van Aert. Presentation on blood transfusion in cattle. Ghent University.
  • Bradford P Smith. Large Animal Internal Medicine. 5th edn.


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