Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Blood: transfusion

Contributor(s): Michelle Ward, Michelle Campbell-Ward, David Vella, Sarah Pellett

Introduction

  • A blood transfusion is the transfer of blood or blood components from one individual (donor) to another (recipient). 
  • Infrequently performed in rabbits, but can provide life-saving supportive therapy for conditions such as profound anemia, hypovolemia, coagulopathies and hypoproteinemia.
  • A blood transfusion is generally required if the hematocrit decreases to <10-15%, but this depends on the clinical signs and the duration of anemia.

Uses

Advantages

  • Simple technique easy to perform in most practices. 
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Rapid clinical effect. 
  • Stabilizes the patient allowing more time to establish a definitive diagnosis and formulate a specific treatment plan.

Disadvantages

  • Availability of donors and storage of blood products may be a limiting factor.
  • Time intensive.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Prognosis

  • Except in cases of acute hemorrhage which is subsequently controlled, blood transfusion should not be considered as a stand-alone treatment. It is a supportive measure given until a diagnosis is established and appropriate treatment instituted.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Huynh M, Boyeaux A & Pignon C (2016) Assessment and care of the critically ill rabbit. Vet Clin of North America: Exotic Animal Practice 19 (2), 379-409 PubMed.
  • Perel P, Roberts I & Ker K (2013) Colloids versus crystalloids for fluid resuscitation in critically ill patients. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev 28 (2), CD000567 PubMed.
  • Stanke N J, Graham J E, Orcutt C J et al (2011) Successful outcome of hepatectomy as treatment for liver lobe torsion in four domestic rabbits. J Am Vet Med Assoc 238 (9), 1176-1183 PubMed.
  • Paul-Murphy J (2007) Critical care of the rabbit. Vet Clin North America Exot Anim Pract 10 (2), 437-461 PubMed.
  • Lichtenberger M (2004) Transfusion medicine in exotic pets. Clin Tech Small Anim Pract 19 (2), 88-95 PubMed.
  • Wright J K, Ehler W, McGlasson D L et al (2002) Facilitation of recovery from acute blood loss with hyperbaric oxygen. Arch Surg 137 (7), 850-853 PubMed.
  • Kristensen A T & Feldman B F (1995) General principles of small animal blood component administration. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 25 (6), 1277-1290 PubMed

Other sources of information

  • Bayment W & Goodman G (2014) General nursing care and hospital management. BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Ed: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, Cheltenham. pp 108-123
  • Kanfer S (2014) Step-by-step guide to blood transfusion in the rabbit. In: Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Conference. Orlando, Florida, USA. Website: wwww.vin.com.
  • Saunders R (2013) Exploratory Laparotomy. BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Ed: Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J. BSAVA, Cheltenham. pp 157-171
  • Platt S & Garosi L (2012) Small Animal Neurological Emergencies. Manson, UK. pp 588.
  • Miller B & Heard D (2009) Blood transfusion technique for rabbits. Mammals Small and Exotics Folder. VIN: June 27 2009.
  • Hohenhaus A E (2005) Blood Transfusions, Component Therapy, and Oxygen-Carrying Solutions. In: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 6th edn. Eds: Ettinger S J & Feldman E C. Elsevier Saunders, St Louis. pp 464-468.
  • OMalley B (2005) Clinical Anatomy and Physiology of Exotic Species: Structure and Function of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians. Elsevier Saunders, UK.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Butterworth Heinemann, UK. 
  • Giger U, Rentko V T (1998) Alternatives to Blood Transfusions: Oxyglobin® Hemoglobin Solution. In: Proc VECC. pp 198-201.


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