• ARDS;
  • canine;
  • MODS;
  • multiple organ failure;
  • SIRS;
  • sepsis


Objective: To describe the clinical appearance and theories on the pathogenesis of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) in humans, and to review the evidence suggesting that a similar syndrome occurs in critically ill dogs.

Human-based studies: Currently, there are a multitude of publications describing the pathogenesis and clinical course of MODS in humans. Providing much of the basis for on-going research and the development of clinical applications, a consensus statement made by the American College of Chest Physicians and Society of Critical Care Medicine defined parameters that had guided and shaped much of what is known about MODS.

Veterinary-based studies: To date, there are few publications describing MODS in dogs and much of what is known has been derived from case reports and reviews of various critical illnesses in dogs. While a similar syndrome of multiple organ dysfunction likely exists in dogs, a consensus statement defining clinical parameters has not been made.

Data sources: Veterinary and human literature review.

Conclusions: The development of MODS in human critical illness is widely recognized and major strides have been made in the understanding of this complex syndrome. Scoring schemes applied to human MODS patients have established that with increasing numbers of failing organs, there is a worse prognosis. As a similar finding likely exists in dogs, an awareness of MODS is vital to veterinary critical care clinicians and a consensus definition of MODS in dogs is warranted.