Blood Groups - Dog

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The most widely used blood grouping system is the Dog Erythrocyte Antigen system (DEA) and within this system eight blood groups exist. DEA 1 (DEA 1.1 DEA 1.2), DEA2 - DEA 7. Often Rottweilers, Labradors and Golden retrievers have DEA 1.1 or DEA 1.2 positive blood types and Greyhounds and German Shepherd Dogs are frequently DEA 1.1 and DEA 1.2 negative. For this reason greyhounds are commonly used as donors.


Unlike cats dogs do not have natural alloantibodies against other blood groups. There is no major risk for the first transfusion, unlike the cat, compatibility tests are not required for the dogs first blood transfusion. Alloantibodies form within 5-7 days of the first transfusion and consequently if a second transfusion is required 5 days later than the original transfusion compatibility tests are necessary.

Blood typing can be carried out using commercial in house kits or can be sent away to a reference laboratory.

Dogs can be positve for one of DEA 1.1 or DEA 1.2 or negative for both DEA 1.1 and 1.2. DEA 1.1 and DEA 1.2 are the most antigenic and hence ideally a donor would be DEA 1.1 and DEA 1.2 negative.

Transfusion reactions can occur when DEA 1.1 and 1.2 negative dogs receive DEA 1.1 or 1.2 positive blood.

Neonatal isoerythrolysis can also occur in dogs. This happens when a DEA 1.1 negative female which has previously been sensitised to DEA 1.1 positive blood is mated to a DEA 1.1 positive male.

See also: Indications for Blood Transfusions
Administering a Blood Transfusion
Blood Groups - Cat
Blood Groups
Blood Products


Transfusion Therapy. Lymphoreticular and Haematology module. 4th year notes. Royal Veterinary College London. 2009.

Selected Topics in Canine and Feline Emergency Medicine. Volume 1. Handbook for the veterinary practitioner. Royal Canin.