Is Cross-Matching Important for the First Blood Transfusion in Dogs?

January 15, 2018

There's a huge misconception, says Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM), ICU manager at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos, California, when it comes to the importance of cross-matching in dogs.

Cross-matching is one of the best ways veterinarians can test compatibility between the blood being transfused into a patient and the patient's own immune system. But there's a huge misconception, says Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM), ICU manager at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos, California, when it comes to the importance of cross-matching in dogs.

He says some veterinarians believe the first transfusion is "free" because there are no antibodies against the most clinically significant antigen on the red cell surface. But other veterinarians have worked toward dispelling this myth.

If transfusion records are not appropriate, or if a new veterinary practice assumes a patient has never received a transfusion and they do another mismatch, that could result in very serious consequences—and even death. For that matter, Yagi says blood type matching and cross-matching is important even for the first transfusion in dogs, unlike how some veterinarians may feel.