When a young, orange-colored cat named Buttercup arrived to Marathon Veterinary Hospital in Florida last month, he was so sick and lethargic it seemed he might not make it. Blood tests quickly determined that his red-blood cell count was life-threateningly low, and he stood little chance of surviving without an immediate blood transfusion.
The only problem was, Buttercup has Type B blood, whereas most cats in the United States have Type A.
"Type B blood is very, very hard to come by," Buttercup's veterinarian, Dr. Sean Perry, told The Dodo. "But you sometimes do run into cats that have Type B blood and the problem is, if you give a Type B cat Type A blood, they have a diffuse anaphylactic reaction and die shortly thereafter."
So, in hopes of saving his furry patient's life, Perry performed a rare, interspecies transfusion - replacing Buttercup's blood with that of a donor dog's. According to news site Keynote, the blood belonged to a greyhound who had donated it to a local blood bank for animals.
"In those cases, it's actually safer to give dog blood than to give cat blood, unless you have the Type B blood," says Perry. "The thing is dog blood can sustain them for a short period of time until you're able to get their body to work in the normal manner. We gave Buttercup the dog's blood to buy us more time, in order get him treatment for what we thought was going on with him."