00849-A: Incidence of Serum Alloantibody in Dogs with a Known History of Pregnancy

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $7,156
Marie-Claude Blais, DVM; Tufts University
October 1, 2006 - September 30, 2007

Sponsor(s): Newfoundland Club of America Charitable Trust

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Reproductive Conditions
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Blood transfusions in dogs have become an integral part of advanced medicine. Just like humans, several blood groups have been identified in dogs, which are referred to as Dog Erythrocyte Antigens or DEA. A dog negative for a given blood group can produce antibodies following exposure to that specific blood group, which could lead to life-threatening hemolytic transfusion reactions with subsequent transfusion(s). It has been well documented that such antibodies� production can happen following blood transfusions in dogs. In women, pregnancy may result in sensitization of the mother. However it is unknown if a bitch may also be sensitized by pregnancy. Because of the endotheliochorial-type of placenta dogs have, it is thought to be less likely that pregnancy will sensitize the bitch and result in the production of antibodies. However, bitches with prior pregnancies are excluded from blood donor program and cross-matching is highly recommended prior to even a first blood transfusion, in contrast with nulliparous bitches and dogs. The purpose of this research is to determine if bitches can be sensitized and produced antibodies directed against red blood cells following a pregnancy. This knowledge is crucial to decide if special considerations should be given to previously pregnant bitches when in need of blood products and, if on the other hand, those bitches truly need to be excluded of canine donor programs, as it is frequently advertised.


Blais, M.-C., Rozanski, E. A., Hale, A. S., Shaw, S. P., & Cotter, S. M. (2009). Lack of Evidence of Pregnancy-Induced Alloantibodies in Dogs. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 23(3), 462–465. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2009.0286.x

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