Use of C-reactive protein to predict outcome in dogs with systemic inflammatory response syndrome or sepsis


  • Parts of this work have been presented as an abstract (in German) at the national 14th DVG InnLab Conference in Munich, May 13–14, 2006.

  • None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to declare.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Barbara Kohn, Small Animal Clinic, Freie Universität Berlin, Oertzenweg 19b, D-14163 Berlin, Germany. Email:


Background – There is a high mortality rate in patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) or sepsis. Therefore, an early diagnosis and prognostic assessment is important for optimal therapeutic intervention. The objective of the study was to evaluate if baseline values and changes in serum C-reactive protein (CRP) might predict survival in dogs with SIRS and sepsis.

Design – Prospective study; July 2004 to July 2005.

Setting – Small Animal Clinic, Berlin, Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, Munich.

Animals – Sixty-one dogs.

Measurements and Main Results – For the CRP analysis blood was drawn on day 0, 1, and 2; CRP was measured using a commercial ELISA test kit. Thirteen dogs suffered from nonseptic SIRS and 48 dogs from sepsis. The 14-day survival rate was 61% (69% nonseptic SIRS, 58% sepsis). Serum CRP was higher in sick dogs compared with controls (P<0.001). Over the 3-day period surviving dogs (n=31) displayed a significantly greater decrease in CRP than nonsurvivors (n=10) (P=0.001). No correlation was found between the initial CRP concentrations and the survival rate. The changes in CRP corresponded to the survival rate (P=0.01).

Conclusion – There was no significant relationship between the survival rate in dogs with nonseptic SIRS or sepsis and the initial serum CRP concentrations. There was a correlation between decreasing CRP concentrations and recovery from disease. However, the changes in CRP concentrations over a 3-day period correctly predicted survival in 94% of dogs and death in 30% of the dogs (false positive rate 22%).