Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Blood: crossmatching

Contributor(s): Prof Bernard Feldman, Sarah Gould


  • Major crossmatch detects antibodies in recipient plasma against donor red cells.
  • Minor crossmatch detects antibodies in donor plasma against recipient red cells (due to dilution effect when plasma given).
  • If no other donors available, blood with least cross match/incompatibility can be used as cells unlikely to be lysed rapidly.
  • Naturally occuring alloantibodies to canine red cells antigens are unusual. First time transfusions seldom indicate cross match incompatibilities in the dog.
  • Compatible transfusion should prevent hemolytic transfusion reactions Anemia: transfusion indications Blood: transfusion Blood types.


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Major crossmatch

  • 1 drop of donor blood (in EDTA or acid citrate dextrose (ACD)), transferred to small glass tube.
  • Wash red cells at 37°C by adding 1 ml warmed normal saline, centrifuging and pouring off saline.
  • Repeat twice more.
  • Resuspend 0.2 ml of washed red cells in 4.8 ml 0.9% saline.
  • Add 2 drops of recipient serum (or EDTA plasma), to 2 drops of resuspended donor cells.
  • Prepare 3 tubes.
  • Incubate one at 37°C, one at 4°C and one at room temperature for 15 mins, then centrifuge 1000 rpm for 30 secs.
  • Add 1 drop of 20% bovine serum albumin (BSA), and reincubate 15 mins.
  • Check for visible hemolysis or agglutination.
  • Tap tube to resuspend cells and transfer 2 drops to a glass slide and check for evidence of agglutination or rouleaux formation.

Minor crossmatch

  • Donor plasma mixed with washed red cells from recipient and incubated as above.


  • Widely available at commercial laboratories.
  • Can easily be performed in practice.

Result Data

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from VetMed Resource and PubMed.
  • Giger U, Gelen C J, Callan M B & Oakley D A (1995) An acute hemolytic transfusion reaction caused by dog erythrocyte antigen 1.1 incompatibility in a previously sensitized dog. JAVMA 206(9), 1358-1362.
  • Hale A S (1995) Canine blood groups and their importance in veterinary transfusion medicine. Vet Clin N Am 25(6), 1323-1332.