Transfusion Medicine in Birds

Key Points

  • Parameters for transfusions and causes of anemias in birds are similar to other species. Transfusions should be given when the PCV is below 20%, especially with chronic anemia.
  • Blood type information is unknown in most species and therefore cross matching should be performed before giving a transfusion.
  • The ideal donor should be of the same species or as closely related as possible as this affects the survival time of the transfused cells.
  • Standard transfusion media can be used in birds.

Because of a lack of identified blood groups in companion bird species, compatibility for transfusion is based on the use of major and minor cross matches. A major cross match is performed by mixing donor red cells with recipient plasma and a minor cross match uses recipient cells and donor plasma. The appearance of agglutination or cell lysis indicates incompatibility.

Unlike mammals, a single transfusion between different bird species can be safe and efficacious. Transfusions will be most effective if the donor is . . .

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To cite this page:

Morrisey JK. Transfusion medicine in birds. May 27, 2007. LafeberVet Web site. Available at