April 11, 2021

Ellie, the cat with dog’s blood

Donating blood is synonymous with giving life. A few minutes of our time can make another person live for years. It is the greatest exponent of solidarity: everything is given for nothing. And although society is increasingly aware of it, it is not aware that this practice can also occur between animals.

On many occasions veterinary centers do not have enough blood, which results in the death of hundreds of beings because they are not transfused in time. Luckily, it was not the case of Ellie, a four-month-old cat who, thanks to a transfusion of canine blood provided by a team of veterinarians from the British Gateshead clinic, managed to survive. The cat was rescued by volunteer Maureen Franklin, founder of an abandoned cat shelter called “New Beginnings.” “It was completely covered with fleas when we rescued her and, after taking her to the vet, the professionals detected that she had a low amount of red blood cells,” said the volunteer.

Veterinarians were forced to use dog blood since they did not have enough time to find a feline donor. “He needed a transfusion and, as it was urgent, we performed it with dog’s blood,” said veterinary nurse Helen Spry, who offered her own dog Bella as a donor.

In this regard, institutions such as the Veterinary Clinical Hospital of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University, in Spain, have highlighted the importance of transfusions in veterinary medicine. Therefore, some centers, such as the San Jorge Veterinary Clinic have come to ask for blood donations to be able to perform transfusions.

A temporary solution

This inter-species procedure is known as xenotransfusion, and it served to keep the little cat safe for at least a short period of time, after which her health worsened. so it was necessary to find a feline donor. “Ellie suffered from severe anemia,” said veterinarian Sara Jackson, who stressed that, although “blood transfusions between two species are not common,” if it had not been done, “the cat would have died.”

After worsening her health after xenotransfusion, veterinarians were forced to look for a feline donor, “although xenotransfusion kept her alive for several days, it had not been enough. Cat’s blood is a little harder to find than dog’s blood, ”said Maureen, who called through the NGO VetsNow and in a very short time a donor for the kitten was found. “We found a perfect one,” added the volunteer. After the transfusion it showed a rapid improvement. “The work done by veterinarians is impressive, since when he entered the clinic he was so weak that he could barely lift his head,” Maureen explains.

Veterinarian Jackson thanked her team for the work done on a busy night: “We had multiple cases on that night, while I was transfusing the kitten, I was closely following another critical patient I was working on. It was an incredible team work ».

From Vets Now, the medical center where Ellie was treated, they reported that the cat recovered satisfactorily. “It was incredible. The veterinarians did an amazing job and we are very grateful, just the previous week I had two cats that died before I could help them, ”says the rescuer.


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