Department of Exotic Pet and Wildlife Medicine, Institute of Veterinary Clinical Science, School of Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
The efficacy of homologous and heterologous whole blood transfusions for treating acute blood loss in reptiles was evaluated in red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans). Sliders were divided into three groups: in group 1, turtles were bled 1.5% of their bodyweight, and left untreated; in group 2, turtles were bled as described above, then transfused with cross-matching-compatible homologous blood 48 hours later at 1.5% of their bodyweight; in group 3, turtles were bled as described above, then transfused with cross-matching-compatible heterologous blood from Chinese striped-neck turtles (Ocadia sinensis) 48 hours later at 1.5% of their bodyweight.
Body temperature (BT) and heart rate (HR) were closely monitored during transfusions. Packed cell volume (PCV), hemoglobin (Hb), red blood cell (RBC) count, white blood cell (WBC) count, and ratio of immature RBC were monitored in all sliders once a week for 15 weeks. There were no significant differences found in the value of PCV, RBC, and Hb between the homologous and heterologous transfusion groups at each timepoint. Nevertheless, in contrast to the heterologous group, PCV, RBC, and Hb in the homologous group recovered faster to the values before being bled.
In conclusion, whole blood transfusion from a heterologous donor of the same family provides similar clinical therapeutic effect with that from a homologous donor. However, heterologous blood transfusion may still arouse immune response, which seemed delayed due to lower metabolic rate in reptiles. The authors feel cross-matching is mandatory before either homologous or heterologous transfusion.