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Questions of A More Technical Nature

Canine Blood Groups


Are you familiar with any literature relating to canine blood types?


Canine blood groups were initially defined in the mid-1950s, but they are very complicated compared to us simpler humans!

There are eight different designations (1. 1, 1.2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) within this system, which is currently open-ended. DEA 7 is like human blood group A, of the ABO system, although other DEA antigens have A type qualities as well (1), and anti-B is a common antibody in dogs (2) and their are differences in the reaction of certain species of canines to DEA specific lectins (3).

Over 13 canine blood groups have been described. Eight DEA (Dog Erythrocyte Antigen) types are recognized as international standards. Naturally occurring antibody is found against DEA 3, 5, and 7. DEA 1.1 and 1.2 antibody-antigen interactions result in acute hemolytic transfusion reactions. DEA 3, 5, and 7 antibody-antigen interaction in vivo results in permanent red blood cell sequestration and loss in 3 to 5 days. DEA 4 antibody-antigen interactions produce no effect on red blood cell survival in vivo. A dog possessing DEA 4 and no other antigen is considered a "universal" donors.

Well, if dogs are often type A, shopuld they be vegetarians?

Probably not.

First of all, canine DEA antigens are not located anywhere near their human counterparts, and so will not influence physiological functions through gene linkage. Second, although some canine antigens are A-like, they are much more fucosylated than the human counterparts, imparting more O-like antigenicity than would be found in humans.

1. Symons M, Bell K. Anim Genet 1991;22(3):227-35 Expansion of the canine A blood group system.

2. Symons M, Bell K. Anim Genet 1992;23(6):509-15 Canine blood groups: description of 20 specificities.

3. andrews GA, Chavey PS, Smith JE. Res Vet Sci 1992 Nov;53(3):315-9 Reactivity of lichen lectins with blood typed canine erythrocytes.

The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.

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