EQUUS - - Eq Medical Front -

Al­though a trans­fu­sion with the wrong blood type won’t nec­es­sar­ily put a horse’s life in jeop­ardy, it’s still a good idea to seek a match, ac­cord­ing to a study from the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia’s New Bolton Cen­ter.

In peo­ple, there are eight dif­fer­ent blood types, de­ter­mined by group (A, B, O and AB) and anti­gens (known as the Rh fac­tor). If a per­son re­ceives blood with in­com­pat­i­ble anti­gens, the re­sult­ing im­mune re­sponse can be deadly. For this rea­son, peo­ple are usu­ally only given blood that matches their own type, and a test called cross-match­ing is done us­ing the blood of both the donor and re­cip­i­ent prior to a trans­fu­sion.

By com­par­i­son, the pro­ce­dure for ad­min­is­ter­ing blood trans­fu­sions to horses is

In a re­cent sur­vey of vet­eri­nar­i­ans con­ducted in the United King­dom, the horse’s re­sponse to pain-re­liev­ing med­i­ca­tions was found to be the most com­monly used di­ag­nos­tic tool in cases of colic.

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Not­ting­ham sent ques­tion­naires to 228 vet­eri­nar­i­ans ask­ing about their first as­sess­ment of colic cases. The most fre­quent di­ag­nos­tic test re­ported (87.2 per­cent) was “re­sponse to anal­ge­sia”— whether the horse’s con­di­tion im­proved af­ter the ad­min­is­tra­tion of pain-re­liev­ing med­i­ca­tion. Rec­tal ex­am­i­na­tion was the sec­ond most cited mea­sure (75.9 per­cent) and na­so­gas­tric tub­ing was the third (43.8 per­cent).

Three other tests—ab­dom­i­nal para­cen­te­sis (also known as “belly taps”), blood­work and sim­pler be­cause mis­matched blood types do not usu­ally lead to se­vere ad­verse re­ac­tions. “Horses do not gen­er­ally have the nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring al­loan­ti­bod­ies [an­ti­bod­ies against dif­fer­ent blood types] the way hu­mans and cats do,” ex­plains Rose Nolen-Wal­ston, DVM. “The con­ven­tional wis­dom was that they [only] needed to be cross-matched af­ter the first trans­fu­sion be­cause ul­tra­sound—rounded out the top di­ag­nos­tic choices.

De­spite the pop­u­lar­ity of cer­tain di­ag­nos­tic tech­niques, the re­searchers note that there was a wide vari­a­tion in in­di­vid­ual pro­to­cols: For each di­ag­nos­tic test there was at least one vet­eri­nar­ian who in­di­cated they use it in 100 per­cent of cases and at least one who in­di­cated they never use it.

This, the re­searchers say, high­lights “the need for fur­ther ev­i­dence to sup­port de­ci­sion-making” when di­ag­nos­ing cases of colic.


Ve­teri­nary Record Open, it was as­sumed that they would [then] make an­ti­bod­ies against the pro­teins on the trans­fused blood.” There are eight ma­jor equine blood groups (A, C, D, K, P, Q, U and T) and nearly 30 equine an­ti­body fac­tors, making for a to­tal of nearly 400,000 dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions.

In a study to in­ves­ti­gate the po­ten­tial long-term im­pact of match­ing blood types for equine trans­fu­sions,

Septem­ber 2015

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