Blood from a Labrador has saved a cat in a "very, very uncommon'' veterinary procedure.

Tauranga woman Kim Edwards said she rushed her cat Rory to Tauranga Vets after she heard him howling awfully. He was limp, in a lot of pain and couldn't move, she said.

Vet Kate Heller said Rory had eaten rat poison and wouldn't survive without an immediate blood transfusion.

However, his blood type was unknown and using the wrong type would have proved fatal.


Inter-species blood transfusions were not common, nor recommended, Ms Heller said.

"It's not something we've done before, but it was one of those emergency situations where we didn't have any other options available.''

It was Friday night and the blood laboratory was closed so they couldn't determine Rory's blood type, Ms Heller said.

"I contacted the companion animal blood bank in Palmerston North and got some advice from them.''

While the transfusion was not without risk, the owners were aware of the risks and Rory would have died without it, she said.

"If we didn't do it, he would have died so we had nothing to lose by giving it a go. It was a `do or die'.''

"It's very, very uncommon.

"I've never heard of it before, but the guy at the companion animal blood bank said he's done it before with some success.


"People are going to think that it sounds pretty dodgy - and it is - but hey, we've been successful and it's saved its life.''

Prior to the transfusion Rory was "really flat and gasping and howling'' and one hour later he was sitting up, purring and "tucked into a bowl of biscuits,'' Ms Heller said.

"He seemed to be a different cat.''

Ms Edwards said when she contacted a friend from her book club who had a pet Labrador, her friend initially didn't believe her strange request.

The whole scenario was very dramatic, and Macy the black Labrador was rushed in for an emergency transfusion, she said.

"The vets just went above and beyond ... it's incredible that it worked.


"Rory is back to normal and we don't have a cat that barks or fetch the paper.''


Dog to cat blood transfusions:

* Cats don't have pre-formed antibodies for dog blood, so the chances of having a fatal reaction to it are smaller.

* Blood from any young, healthy dog from a large breed was suitable.

- additional reporting by Bay of Plenty Times