Background: Underlying conditions in dogs admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) can cause hemostatic dysfunction. Thrombelastography (TEG) may be useful in detecting hemostatic alterations as compared with standard coagulation tests.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare TEG results and those of standard coagulation tests in identifying hemostatic dysfunction in dogs admitted to an ICU and to investigate associations among the variables measured.
Methods: Tissue factor-activated TEG analysis, d-dimer and fibrinogen concentrations, antithrombin (AT) activity, prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), and platelet count were measured using standard techniques on 27 dogs admitted to ICU with a disease known to be associated with hemostatic dysfunction and in 31 clinically healthy control dogs. Results were compared between groups using nonparametric tests and κ analysis; principal component analysis (PCA) and Spearman rank correlation were used to measure associations among variables.
Results: Fourteen of 27 ICU dogs had abnormal TEG tracings, which were used to classify the dogs as hypercoagulable (n=11), hypocoagulable (n=3), or normocoagulable (n=13). Hypercoagulable dogs had significantly increased d-dimer (P=.03) and fibrinogen (P=.01) concentrations compared with normocoagulable dogs. In ICU dogs, positive associations were identified between maximum amplitude (MA), α-angle, fibrinogen concentration, and platelet count, and between PT, aPTT, and reaction time (R). Significant correlations were found between MA and fibrinogen (rs=.76, P<.001) and between reaction time (R) and PT (rs=.51, P=.003).
Conclusions: TEG was useful in detecting hemostatic dysfunction in dogs in an ICU. Positive associations among variables may provide insight as to how overall coagulation status reflects alterations in clot strength and coagulation time. Dogs with TEG tracings indicative of hypercoagulability are likely in procoagulant states. Future studies of the incidence of thrombotic complications in dogs with hypercoagulable TEG tracings are warranted.