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J Vet Intern Med. 2003 Sep-Oct;17(5):674-9.

Hemostatic changes in dogs with naturally occurring sepsis.

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Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.


Sepsis is a frequent source of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. The goal of this case control study was to measure hemostatic changes in dogs with naturally occurring sepsis. Blood was collected within 24 hours of admission from 20 dogs that fulfilled the criteria for sepsis. Sepsis was defined as histologic or microbiological confirmation of infection and 2 or more of the following criteria: hypo- or hyperthermia, tachycardia, tachypnea, or leukopenia, leukocytosis, or > 3% bands. Culture and sensitivities were performed on appropriate samples from all septic dogs. Twenty-eight control dogs were enrolled on the basis of normal results of physical examination, CBC, serum biochemistry, and coagulation profile. Plasma samples were analyzed for prothrombin time (PT), partial thromboplastin time (PTT), fibrin(ogen) degradation products (FDP), D-dimer (DD) concentrations, antithrombin (AT) activity, and protein C (PC) activity. Data were compared between groups by chi-square or independent t-tests. PC (P < .001) and AT (P < .001) activities were significantly lower in dogs with sepsis compared to controls. Dogs with sepsis had significantly higher PT (P = .007), PTT (P = .005), D-dimer (P = .005), and FDP (P = .001) compared to controls. Platelet counts were not significantly different between groups. Ten of the 20 septic dogs (50%) died, but no association was identified between any of the measured variables and outcome. These findings are consistent with previous studies in animals with experimentally induced disease and in clinical studies of humans. On the basis of these results, further investigation of the role of AT and PC in canine sepsis is warranted.

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