Why do dogs need blood transfusions?
Dogs may need blood transfusions for different reasons. Your dog’s blood is made of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Blood can be separated into these various components so that the specific transfusion needs of your dog can be met. The most common transfusions involve the use of red blood cells or plasma.
Red blood cells are used in the treatment of anemia (low red blood cell count). Red blood cells may be needed following an accident or during surgery when blood is lost. They are also needed when your dog’s body cannot produce enough red blood cells by itself or when diseases cause the body to destroy its own red blood cells.
Plasma contains proteins or enzymes which help to clot the blood. It can be used to treat bleeding due to liver disease or bleeding seen with the accidental ingestion of rodent poisons. Plasma is also used when the protein or albumin of the patient becomes very low. Another component of plasma, cryoprecipitate, is used in the treatment of hemophilia or in other inherited bleeding problems.