Xenotransfusion Management in an Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) Diagnosed with an Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia
2018 Joint EAZWV/AAZV/Leibniz-IZW Conference
Karine Béland1*, DMV, IPSAV; Claire Vergneau-Grosset1,2, DMV, IPSAV, CES, DACZM; Stéphane Lair1,2, DMV, DES, DVSc, DACZM; Marie-Claude Blais1, DMV, Transfusion Medicine Fellowship, DACVIM
1Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St. Hyacinthe, QC, Canada ; 2Aquarium du Québec, Québec City, QC, Canada


A 6-year-old female arctic fox was diagnosed with a pyometra, which was addressed surgically. Preoperatively, the fox‘s hematocrit decreased from 26% to 10%. Her complete blood count revealed a marked nonregenerative anemia with ghost cells and spherocytosis, supporting an immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) in addition to moderate blood loss. PCR tests for canine vector-borne pathogens were negative. Immunosuppressive therapy and supportive care were instituted. Pre-transfusion major crossmatch was compatible with a domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris), that was DEA 1 and 3 negative, but DEA 4, 5, 7 and Dal positive. Two xenotransfusions (17 ml/kg) were administered without complication 24 hours apart using leukoreduced packed red blood cell. Six days post-transfusion, major crossmatch between the fox and the blood donor was now incompatible. Extended blood typing of the fox (DEA 1, 3, 7 negative, but DEA 4, 5 and Dal positive) could not explain the incompatibility. All subsequent crossmatches remained incompatible, with a maximum agglutination titer of 512 documented on day 13 and alloantibodies still detectable eight months post-transfusion (titers: 8–32). Discontinuation of immunosuppressive treatments one week post-surgery resulted in a recurrence of IMHA within three days. Therefore, prednisolone and cyclosporine were resumed and tapered over eight months with no further recurrence. Rare cases of hemolytic anemia have been reported in wild Canidae.1-3 Given its clinical presentation, this case of IMHA was likely triggered by a pyometra. Xenotransfusion can be considered in arctic foxes but should be planned with care; subsequent xenotransfusions may lead to severe hemolytic transfusion reactions.


The authors would like to thank the blood bank of the Centre hospitalier universitaire vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, all the clinicians, technicians, residents, interns, students and the staff of the Aquarium du Québec for their assistance in the care of this arctic fox.

Literature Cited

1.  Martony ME, Krause KJ, Weldy SH, Simpson SA. Xenotransfusion in an island fox (Urocyon littoralis clementae) using blood from a domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). J Zoo Wildl Med. 2016;47:923–926.

2.  Phair KA, Carpenter JW, Smee N, Myers CB, Pohlman LM. Severe anemia caused by babesiosis in a maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). J Zoo Wildl Med. 2012;43:162–167.

3.  Portas TJ, Montali RJ. Spotted black snake (Pseudechis guttatus) envenomation in a maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). J Zoo Wildl Med. 2007;38:483–487.


Speaker Information
(click the speaker's name to view other papers and abstracts submitted by this speaker)

Karine Béland, DMV, IPSAV
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vétérinaire
Université de Montréal
St. Hyacinthe, QC, Canada

MAIN : Posters : Xenotransfusion Management in Arctic Fox
Powered By VIN