Cat's Life Saved After Blood Transfusion From a Dog

Cat�s Life Saved After Blood Transfusion From a Dog

A cat from Key West, Fla., is lucky to be alive following a lifesaving blood transfusion—from a dog.

According to The Miami Herald, Ernie Saunders brought his cat Buttercup into the vet after the feline became lethargic. Tests revealed that Buttercup was anemic, with a red blood cell count of just 7 percent. Cats should normally have a red blood cell count of 35 percent.

In order to save the cat’s life, Dr. Sean Perry from the Marathon Veterinary Hospital had to perform a blood transfusion. But since cat blood is harder to find than dog blood, and a shipment of cat blood to the Keys would have taken days or weeks, Perry decided to use blood packs from a Greyhound that the staff had on hand. 

The blood came from a canine blood bank in West Palm Beach, and Perry told reporters that it was actually safer to use dog blood rather than supplying the cat with the wrong type of cat blood. 

The process of transfusing cats with dog blood is called xenotransfusion, and it’s rare in the veterinary world. Cats are the only known animals who can accept dog blood, Perry told the Miami Herald. The transfusion lasted four hours, and since the procedure, Buttercup has been more active. She also now has regular checkups with the Marathon Veterinary Hospital.

While Buttercup is not completely out of the water—she is taking steroids and antibiotics—the transfusion was a success and should allow Buttercup to regenerate red blood cells.

According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, only 62 cats are known to have undergone similar procedures where they were transfused with dog blood.

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Image: Courtesy Marathon Veterinary Hospital