This webinar is delivered by Sophie McMurrough, who qualified as an RVN in 2011. She is one of the few veterinary technician specialists (VTS) in small animal internal medicine in the UK and currently works at Northwest Veterinary Specialists as a senior nurse in the internal medicine department. 

The webinar starts by mentioning when blood transfusions are used in felines. It goes on to explain the different types of blood that exist in cats. There are type A, B and AB, the most common being type A. Recently another blood type has been discovered called MIK, where patients with this blood type are more prone to reactions. 

Sophie talks about the need for a crossmatch test prior to transfusion, as cats already have antibodies, so if our patient is B blood and we give them A blood, there will already be antibodies in their body that destroy the blood we are transfusing, which can result in the death of our patient. 

The webinar explains how to use the Blood Kit and how to crossmatch, its importance and what these tests tell us. Sophie even shows an example of how they do it in their clinic. 

There is no blood bank for cats, because cat blood cells have a limited storage time, so in emergency matters the different clinics have a list of cats that can donate. Sophie gives us a list of characteristics that donor cats should have. 

After choosing our donor, they have to go through several checks to make sure that they are fit to donate. Sophie provides a list of what to look and check for. If everything goes well in the tests, as the needle must be in for 20 minutes, the donor should be sedated, avoiding many potential complications.   

The webinar goes on to describe the equipment needed to prepare for a transfusion. She then talks about the volumes of blood that each cat can donate, being 20% of their volume every 4 weeks. 

For blood collection, someone needs to hold the patient and preferably the blood is taken from the jugular vein. Sophie recommends that when inserting the catheter, we try to make it a clean stick, avoid stabbing too many times and gives some tips on how to achieve this. She takes us through the whole procedure. 

The administering of the blood to the patient, and all the preparation needed to do it properly, is then explained in detail. Warming the blood before administering is very important and we shouldn’t leave the blood at room temperature for more than 4 hours, because there is a risk of bacterial growth.  

The administering process should last between 4-6 hours to avoid overload and heart failure. If it is an emergency, the blood can be administered in 1-2 hours. There are several reactions we can see when transfusing, such as facial swelling, urticaria, salivation and changes in blood pressure; if any of these signs are observed, the transfusion should be stopped immediately. 

Monitoring is very important. The patient should be observed constantly, and respiratory parameters, pulse and temperature should be taken, preferably every 15 seconds. Reactions normally occur within the first 30 minutes. 

Sophie also talks about reaction types, which can be immunological or non-immunological, the differences between them, findings and characteristics. 

Don’t miss this webinar, watch it and let us know what you think in the comments.