Buttercup, a cat in Florida, had a problem. Buttercup’s owner brought him in to the hospital after noticing his pet was “very lethargic, not wanting to get up, not wanting to walk around.” The problem required an immediate blood transfusion, but since there was no cat blood available, the veterinarian used previously donated dog blood instead.
Dr. Sean Perry, who performed the transfusion, said that cross-species blood transfusions, called xenotransfusions, aren’t common in veterinary medicine but are an option in certain cases. Cats and dogs, like humans, have different blood types, Perry said. But dogs have a universal donor blood type and are larger, so their blood is more often available at animal blood banks.