I have read about two cases of foals dying from reactions to plasma transfusions in the past ten years. Both involved inexperienced vets and/or plasma being given too quickly or more than one liter given.
Does anyone have any statistics on the risks of transfusion? While I read about septic foals almost daily, I only recall the two previously mentioned deaths from transfusion. Just seems like a foal would be at much higher risk with a low IgG than from a plasma transfusion, but maybe the transfusion problems are not widely publicized?
Would love to know what the real likelihood of a fatal reaction is.
In 2006, my foal got three transfusions at a major vet hospital. I was a wreck worried about transfusion reactions. None of the vets there could even remember a fatal reaction, and everything went well, so I kinds chalk it up to "just because you hear more about it, doesn't mean it's happening more".
My mares foal out at a farm where there were two cases of rhodococcus a number of years ago. Since then, as a precaution, all foals receive plasma at birth. All have been absolutely fine. In some areas, rhodococcus is a fact of life - areas of KY and other horse country. There plasma is given routinely. As with anything, there are risks, but IME the risk of plasma when given by an experienced vet is practically nil.