Do animals have blood types?

Blood groups are categorised by whether antibodies are present and by the type of proteins on the red blood cells.

16th July 2017
Do animals have blood types? (Getty)

Asked by: Bill Robinson, Slough

Yes they do! As long as the animals in question have blood (not all do) then they will have species-specific ‘blood groups’. As with humans, these groups are determined by the structure of the blood based on the presence or absence of antibodies along with the make-up of the proteins that sit on the outside of red blood cells.

Humans are usually one of four main blood types (although 35 have been identified for us). Thirteen types have been identified for dogs, eight for horses and three for cats. Back in 1667, lamb’s blood was successfully transfused into a 15-year-old boy without causing a fatal allergic reaction!

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