The lack of comprehensive knowledge of canine blood types and the inability to type beyond DEA 1 means that cross-matching is necessary to detect serious antibody-mediated incompatibilities.
Cross-matching is an in vitro test mixing donor and recipient components (blood or plasma) to look for potential reactions. Cross-matching test result assessment involves looking for agglutination or haemolysis reactions.
The test looks for reactions that could cause severe complications. It is best practice to both blood type and cross match for any transfusion. However, for second and subsequent transfusion in dogs, it is mandatory at any time >4-7 days following the initial transfusion. This is the time it takes for a recipient to produce alloantibody (antibody against foreign red cell antigens).
If time allows, Pet Blood Bank recommends cross-matching via an externally validated laboratory. We offer an overnight cross-match service with IDEXX Laboratories.
We also supply in-house cross-match kits from Alvedia and Woodley and can send samples from our blood units for your own in-house cross-matching. The in-house cross-match kits take around 15 minutes to perform. Instructions on how to use each of the kits we supply are below.
In cases where an urgent transfusion is required and you do not have access to an in-house cross-match kit, please download our step by step guide to performing a manual cross-match below.