Evaluation of a rapid agglutination method for detection of equine red cell surface antigens (Ca and Aa) as part of pretransfusion testing

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16 Scopus citations


Background: Blood typing before transfusion minimizes the risk of transfusion reactions and prevents immunization of the recipient against incompatible RBC antigens. The major RBC antigens that warrant identification before packed RBC or whole blood transfusions in horses are Ca and Aa. Standard blood-typing protocols are time-consuming (2.5-3.0 hours) and impractical in emergency settings. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine whether equine RBCs could be typed for Ca and Aa antigens using sera from horses with RBC antibodies in a modified rapid (15 minute) blood-typing protocol. Methods: Serum was obtained from a horse with anti-Ca antibodies and from another horse with anti-Aa antibodies. The presence of agglutinating antibodies was confirmed with antibody screening. Venous blood samples, collected in citrate-phosphate-dextrose, were obtained from 21 horses of various breeds. Samples were blood typed in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Hematology Laboratory using standard methodology. Washed RBCs from each of the 21 horses were incubated individually with anti-Ca and anti-Aa sera at dilutions of 1:4, 1:8, and 1:16 for 15 and 30 minutes at room temperature and 37 °C. Results: Of the 21 horses, 13 were identified as Aa+/Ca+, four were Aa+/Ca-, two were Aa-/Ca+, and two were Aa-/Ca-. All 17 Aa-positive horses had a positive agglutination reaction at all dilutions of anti-Aa serum, incubation times, and temperatures, while all Aa-negative horses were negative. Each Ca-positive horse had a positive agglutination reaction at all incubation time points and temperatures up to the 1:16 dilution of the anti-Ca serum. All Ca-negative horses were negative at all times, temperatures, and dilutions of anti-Ca serum. Use of the modified protocol on 26 hospitalized horses resulted in accurate typing, based on complete antibody screens. Conclusions: These results support the hypothesis that equine RBCs can be blood typed using a rapid (15 minute) protocol, at room temperature, for the presence of Ca and Aa antigens using equine-derived antisera. This technique may be beneficial for pretransfusion testing of equine patients in an emergency setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Blood-typing
  • Horse
  • RBC
  • Transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • veterinary(all)


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