Friday, December 5, 2014

Veterinary Highlights: My Blood To You - Transfusing Human Serum Albumin To Dogs?

There are times when blood transfusion is a life-saving procedure. But it has to be the right blood. Unless it is perfectly matched, it can cause a severe reaction. Trying to donate blood to your dog would end up badly.

However, new research suggests that donating a blood serum protein albumin is possible and can a dog's life.

Blood consists of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets and plasma. Plasma is mainly water but it also contains a bunch of important substances such as sugars, fat particles AND proteins. The proteins within blood plasma are albumin, clotting factors, antibodies, enzymes and hormones.

Albumin is the main plasma protein.

It regulates osmotic pressure of the blood and it is a carrier protein. Both of these functions are vital.

One of Jasmine's blood tests showed low calcium. Controlled levels of blood calcium are vital and are strictly regulated. The body will rather remove it from the bones than not have enough of it in the blood. So what was happening?

With further investigation it turned out that her calcium levels were appropriate to her albumin levels. Calcium is one of the substances albumin carries throughout the body. Can't have more calcium in the blood that the available albumin can carry.

Calcium wasn't Jasmine's problem, albumin was.

Insufficient albumin the the blood can cause water leaking from blood vessels into body cavities, as well as cause deficiencies in some substances, such as calcium.

Dogs with certain diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or protein losing enteropathy (PLE) end up with low levels of albumin in the blood. Most obvious symptom is accumulation of water in their abdomen and chest. In severe cases, the dog can die of drowning in their own body fluids.

Transfusion of blood serum makes the difference between life and death.

As it seems, it might be possible to use human serum albumin to save the dog's life. I'd give mine in a heartbeat. It is still risky but if the choice is between certain death and a chance to die, what would you choose?

Source article:
How Humans Can Save Pets with Blood Transfusions

Further reading:
Human serum albumin transfusion
Blood and the cells it contains

Related articles:
Proteins In The Dog's Body

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