How Much Do You Know About Dog Blood Groups?

How Much Do You Know About Dog Blood Groups?

Blood types, or blood groups are determined by specific antigens found on the surface of erythrocytes. In humans, there is the ABO system of blood types, whereas dogs have a variety of different blood types. Knowledge of blood types in the different species is important as transfusion of incompatible blood can result in severe hemolytic transfusion reactions and even death, in some instances.

 (blue: blood donors red: blood recipients o: can transfuse x: can not transfuse)

Dog has 13 blood types which are designated by the acronym DEA (dog erythrocyte antigen) and a number (DEA1, DEA2, DEA3 to DEA12). Other than DEA blood types, Dal is another blood type commonly known in dogs.

DEA1 has two subtypes: DEA1.1 and DEA1.2. DEA 1.1 positive is the most common dog blood type, and dogs with this type are considered universal recipients, that is, they can receive blood of any type without expectation of a life-threatening hemolytic transfusion reaction. Dogs that are DEA1.1 negative are universal donors.

Blood from DEA1.1 positive dogs should never be transfused into DEA1.1 negative dogs. If it is the dog’s first transfusion the red cells transfused will have a shortened life due to the formation of alloantibodies to the cells themselves and the animal will forever be sensitized to DEA1.1 positive blood. If it is a second such transfusion, life-threatening conditions will follow within hours.

In other words, the immune system of DEA1.1 negative dogs recognizes DEA1.1 as a foreign substance and so attacks it. This can lead to severe transfusion reactions if a DEA1.1 negative dog is given blood from a DEA1.1 positive donor.

Just like in most illnesses, the immune system takes longer to react the first time it encounters something and so there is unlikely to be an immediate problem if a dog receives a mismatched blood transfusion the first time.

In addition, these alloantibodies will be present in a female dog’s colostrum and adversely affect the health of DEA1.1 negative puppies.

DEA4 and DEA6 appear on the red blood cells of about 98% of dogs. Dogs with only DEA4 or DEA6 can thus serve as blood donors for the majority of the canine population.

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