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Companion animal practice
Blood transfusions in dogs and cats 1. Indications
  1. Jenny Helm

    Jenny Helm graduated from Glasgow in 2005, after which she undertook a small animal rotating internship at the Royal Veterinary College and spent a short time in small animal practice. She subsequently returned to Glasgow to undertake a residency in oncology and internal medicine and where she is currently oncology clinician at the small animal hospital. She holds the RCVS certificate in small animal medicine and is working towards the European diploma in internal medicine.

  2. Clare Knottenbelt

    Clare Knottenbelt graduated from Bristol in 1994 and worked for a year in mixed practice. She subsequently undertook a residency in small animal internal medicine at Edinburgh, after which she became a lecturer at Glasgow, where she is currently a senior clinician in small animal medicine and oncology, and head of the division of companion animal sciences. She holds an MSc in feline transfusion medicine and the RCVS diploma in small animal medicine.


Transfusion therapy is the mainstay of supportive treatment for dogs and cats with anaemia. The commercial availability of blood and blood products for dogs has resulted in an increase in the number of patients benefiting from transfusion therapies. This article, the first of two discussing the use of blood transfusions in dogs and cats, outlines the indications for transfusion therapy and describes the different options available. Part 2, to be published in the June issue of In Practice, will discuss the practicalities of blood collection in situations where blood products are either unavailable or inappropriate, and will describe how to administer transfusions safely.

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