The development of ultrapurified hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers has eliminated many problems associated with whole-blood transfusions in other species. We hypothesized that the administration of polymerized ultrapurified bovine hemoglobin (PUBH) would result in improved hemodynamic parameters in ponies with normovolemic anemia without adverse effects on renal function or coagulation times. Normovolemic anemia was induced in 6 healthy adult ponies. Over a 3-day period, at least 45 mL/kg of whole blood was withdrawn from each pony until a target PCV of <12% was attained. Plasma was separated from the red blood cells via centrifugation and readministered to the ponies on each day. After the final plasma transfusion, 15 mL/kg of hetastarch (control, n = 6) or 15 mL/kg of PUBH (treatment, n = 6) was administered at 10 mL/kg/h IV. Administration of PUBH at a rate of 10 mL/kg/h was not associated with any adverse effects in 5 of the 6 ponies. One pony experienced an anaphylactoid reaction during infusion of PUBH. The reaction, characterized by intense pruritus, tachycardia, and tachypnea resolved shortly after stopping the infusion. Ponies receiving PUBH had significantly lower cardiac indices (P = .03) and heart rates (P = .002) than control animals. A significantly greater increase in central venous pressure was observed in the PUBH group compared to the hetastarch group (P = .02). No adverse renal or coagulation effects were observed with PUBH infusion. These results suggest that PUBH improves hemodynamics and oxygen transport parameters in horses experiencing normovolemic anemia. Patients should be monitored closely during infusion for any adverse reactions.
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