The AB system is the major blood group system in domestic cats. The common blood
types are A and B. Cats with bloodtype B have anti-A antibodies at a high titer and
cats with blood type A have anti-B antibodies at a low titer. Cats with the rare AB
blood type do not have anti-A or anti-B antibodies. These natural antibodies can leed to bloodgroup incompatibility that can be lethal. The condition is known as Neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI), first symptoms are dyspnea, vomiting and agitation.
A recent study at Laboklin identified a number of new variants involved in determining the different blood groups in cats. Our Genetic Blood Group DNA test has now been updated with the new variants and as a result we can now screen all cat breeds except Domestic Shorthair for genetic blood groups. The updated test can detect the 'b' mutation which is reposnible for blood group 'B' more accurately than before and in more breeds, and the 'c' mutation which is repsonsible for blood group 'AB' in Ragdoll and Bengal can now be detected.
The test is valid for all cat breeds except: Domestic Shorthair.
The new improved test is more comperhensive than any other commercially available tests.
Neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI):
Neonatal isoerythrolysis occurs when kitten with blood group A or AB (also known as C) are born to a queen with blood type B. A-type and AB-type kittens absorb the anti-A antibodies from the breast milk. The hemolytic disease that ensues can be lethal.
This incompatibility reaction, especially important for breeders, is neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI). Neonatal isoerythrolysis in cats, also called fading kitten syndrome, is a dissolution of the red blood cells.
Only new born cats with blood groups A or AB (also known as C) whose mother has blood group B are affected by NI. In pedigree catteries, neonatal isoerythrolysis may occur in first-born and multiparous queens with blood group B, if they are mated to toms having blood groups A or AB (also known as C).
The kittens, with blood group A and AB (also known as C), which were born healthy, however, take up the mother's antibodies with the colostrum. These bind to the erythrocytes, which are then destroyed. Anaemia, excretion of protein in the urine and jaundice are the consequences, so that the kittens usually die within the first week of life. In some cases, the intestinal barrier is already closed at the time of birth, so that the absorption of the immunoglobulins by the kitten is prevented. Therefore, some theoretically at-risk kittens may not develop neonatal isoerythrolysis. Thus, not all kittens with blood groups A and C whose mother is type B develop NI.
Good to know Blood type B kittens whose mothers have blood group A do not develop NI. This is due to the low anti-B antibody titre in blood group A queens.
As a rule, new born kittens with clinical symptoms cannot be treated successfully. However, neonatal isoerythrolysis can be prevented by determining the blood groups of possible breeding partners in advance and avoiding mating between queens with blood group B and toms with types groups A or AB (also known as C). However, if such mating does occur, the kittens with blood groups A or AB (also known as C) should be separated from their type B mother in the first 16-24 hours after birth to prevent antibody uptake before the intestinal barrier is closed.
For the genetic blood group determination, Laboklin requires either an EDTA blood sample (0.5 - 1 ml) or 2 cheek swabs. The sample run time after sample arrival is approx. 3-5 working days.