Admission base excess as a predictor of transfusion requirement and mortality in dogs with blunt trauma: 52 cases (2007–2009)


  • Dr. Fletcher is an Assistant Editor for the Journal but did not participate in the peer review process other than as an author. The authors declare no other conflict of interest.

  • Funding for this study was provided by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences.

  • Presented in part as a poster at the 16th IVECCS San Antonio, September 2010.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to

Dr. Daniel J. Fletcher, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, DCS Box 25, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. E-mail:



To evaluate the ability of admission base excess (ABE) to predict blood transfusion requirement and mortality in dogs following blunt trauma.


Retrospective study 2007–2009.


University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.


Fifty-two dogs admitted to the intensive care unit for treatment following blunt trauma.

Measurements and main results

Animals requiring red blood cell transfusion (N = 8) had significantly lower ABE than those not requiring transfusion (N = 44; median base excess [BE] = −8.4 versus −4.7, P = .0034), while there was no difference in admission packed cell volume (PCV) or age. Animals that died or were euthanized due to progression of signs (N = 5) had lower median ABE than those that survived (N = 47; median BE = −7.3 versus −4.9, P = 0.018). Admission PCV and age were not significantly different between survivors and nonsurvivors. Receiver operator characteristic curve analysis showed an ABE cutoff of −6.6 was 88% sensitive and 73% specific for transfusion requirement (P < 0.001), and a cutoff of −7.3 was 81% sensitive and 80% specific for survival (P < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that ABE was a predictor of transfusion requirement that was independent of overall severity of injury as measured by the Animal Triage Trauma (ATT) score, but a similar analysis showed that only ATT was an independent predictor of survival.


The ABE in dogs with blunt trauma was a predictor of mortality and blood transfusion requirement within 24 hours.