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Dog and Cat Blood Types

Updated on February 23, 2013

Do Animals Have Blood Types?

Blood types have been a discussion in my family since we found out that my blood type is AB- and different from my parents. My son asked for a Blood Typing Kit and then asked "Do you think Shadow (our dog) has a blood type? "

That question stuck in my mind until I could do some research. This of course lead me to other research. I was amazed at the information I found. It was not quite what I expected. Read on, and we'll get to the bottom of this question. I will only cover domestic dogs and cats.

Canine Blood Types

You might be surprised to learn that dogs have more blood types than humans. So far approximately thirteen canine blood types are known to exist. Eight of these blood types are the most established and currently are recognized as the standard.

These canine blood groups are known as DEA (Dog Erythrocyte Antigen). They can have positive and negative factors just as in humans. Only negative factor blood should be given to canines with a negative factor. However, a canine with a positive factor blood type can receive either positive or negative.

Canines with a positive DEA factor can be considered universal recipients. Dogs with a negative DEA factor are considered to be universal donors.

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Feline Blood Types

Cats are possibly one of the most misunderstood creatures on the earth. It should be very simple. They are the masters and we are their subjects. Easy, isn't it?

Their blood types are even much easier than a dogs. There are only three. A, B, or AB. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

All cats should have a blood typing test done to determine their blood type prior to a transfusion or breeding. Mixing blood types in cats can have very severe reactions. Most cats in the United States will have Type A, but once outside the U.S., Type B will show more frequently.

Blood Donors and Blood Banks

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Just as with humans, animals require blood transfusions sometimes. There are blood banks available but they require donors to keep the supply available.

To volunteer your dog as a donor, it needs to be between one and seven years of age, at least 50 pounds, in good health, not on any medication except for heartworm/tick prevention and current on all vaccines. He/She must be able to remain calm and well-behaved during the donation procedure. A potential donor will be blood typed and only those with a universal dog blood type are accepted. The procedure takes between 15 and 25 minutes.

If you're interested in having your pet become a blood donor, contact your local veterinarian or emergency animal clinic.

Cat donors are typically not volunteers. Many feline blood banks have their own in-house families of cats. Cats rarely will sit still or be calm during the procedure, so they are usually mildly sedated.

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I hope I've given you the information you were seeking when you ended up here.

Now, I have a question for you. Do you have pets? How many and what kind? I love all animals and would love to hear about yours :)

Dog, Cat or Other?

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    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Great information! I didn't know any of it! I have cats right now, but have had a dog, horses, rabbits, a goat... etc. :)

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      This is an interesting topic as I don't believe I've ever read an article on dogs or cats requiring a blood transfusion. I wonder about that.

    • Ram Ramakrishnan profile image

      Ram Ramakrishnan 7 years ago

      A very interesting lens.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 7 years ago from California

      I had no idea...never thought about this, but guess I should ask my Vet what my dog's blood type is for his records, we never know when an emergency could occur. Thank your son for asking this question :) Blessed by an Angel...and bless all those cute little puppies and kittens :)

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      2 dogs too small to give blood, 3 pounds, and 11 pounds, and a tortoise also too small to give blood.(15 pounds) Also I know they would not like the procedure! some good info here!

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 7 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I hadn't even thought about blood types for cats and dogs, and didn't realize about the donor issue either. With three cats, it's something I'm glad I learnt about today :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      This is a really cool lens and that is a totally awesome question! I love all of the pictures All of these little fur babies are adorable!