Transfusion medicine is the mainstay of treatment of animals with disorders of hemostasis. Naturally, when performing surgery on an animal with a hemostatic defect, strict attention should be paid to surgical hemostasis and the use of topical hemostatic agents, such as gelfoam or topical thrombin, may be useful. However, these procedures should never be relied upon to achieve optimal hemostasis, and replacement of missing factors is always desireable. A simple rule to follow is this:
It is easier to prevent hemorrhage than it is to stop or treat hemorrhage once it has begun.
The basis of transfusion medicine is component therapy (see definitions below). Blood components are under-utilized in veterinary medicine. However, with the advent of commercial blood banks, these products are becoming more available to the veterinary practitioner. These products are expensive and sometimes not readily available for use in a hemorrhaging animal, hence, sometimes there is no choice but to use whole blood for treatment, even when not optimal or advisable.
This section of eClinPath will cover the following:
- Blood collection for transfusion: This section includes donor selection for transfusion purposes
- Blood components: This section provides defines the different components that can be obtained from a blood transfusion (e.g. fresh plasma, cryoprecipitate) and how they are prepared and stored.
- Blood types (groups) in different animals: Dogs, cats, horses, ruminants.
- Crossmatching or blood type incompatibility testing: This section will include details on testing for blood group incompatibilities (to prevent transfusion reactions), such as crossmatching, and mare-foal and mare-stallion incompatibility testing (a form of crossmatch).
- Treatment of hemostatic disorders: This provides guidelines for use of whole blood and information on hemostatic drugs, e.g. desmopression.
- Adverse reactions to transfusions: Immune-mediated and non-immune mediated.