Dog blood transfusion saves cat’s life

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kitty with blood transfusion MARATHON, Fla. — Veterinarians in Florida said an orange tabby cat has its natural nemesis, a dog, to thank for a lifesaving blood transfusion.

Dr. Sean Perry of the Marathon Veterinary Hospital said Buttercup, an orange tabby cat from Key West, was found to be severely anemic, with a red blood cell count down to 7 percent, far lower than the minimum 35 percent required for a healthy feline.

Perry said he was concerned waiting for cat blood would take too long to help Buttercup, so he sent for dog blood from a West Palm Beach dog blood bank.

“It’s a situation where you can’t give type A blood to a type B blood cat because it’ll cause a severe immune reaction,” Perry told “It was actually safer to give the cat dog’s blood. It’s a practice that’s been used in the past but it’s not common.”

“Cat’s blood is a little harder to come by and not as available as dog’s blood,” Perry said. “We had greyhound blood packs that we get from a blood bank that has red blood cells separated from plasma. Buttercup showed no signs of rejection during the transfusion.”

Ernie Saunders, the cat’s owner, said Buttercup is doing much better since the transfusion. He said the procedure using dog blood was not the only surprise from the incident.

“I found out he was a male instead of a female,” Saunders said. “I let a charter guy’s daughter name it Buttercup. Personally, I just call him Kitty.”Ben Hooper