• Open Access

Lymphocyte Subpopulations and Hematologic Variables in Dogs with Congestive Heart Failure


Department of Clinical Sciences, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536;e-mail: lisa.freeman@tufts.edu.


Alterations in lymphocyte subpopulations and in other hematologic variables have been documented in people with heart failure. The purpose of the current study was to compare flow cytometric and hematologic variables in dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF) to healthy controls. CD4+ peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and CD8+ lymphocytes were analyzed by flow cytometry, and white blood cell count, platelet count, hematocrit, and hemoglobin were determined by a complete blood count. Twenty-five dogs with CHF (International Small Animal Cardiac Health Council [ISACHC] class 2 [n = 12] and ISACHC class 3a [n = 13]) and 13 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Compared with the controls, dogs with CHF had markedly lower percentages of CD4+ PBMC, CD8+ lymphocytes, hematocrit, and hemoglobin, but markedly higher leukocytes, neutrophils, and platelets. There were no differences in these variables between dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy (n = 6) and those with chronic valvular disease (n = 19). Dogs in ISACHC class 3a had a markedly lower total lymphocyte number, CD4+ and CD8+ cells, and hematocrit, but markedly higher leukocyte and neutrophil numbers relative to the control group. CD4+ and CD8+ subpopulations and other blood cell variables are altered in dogs with CHF. Future studies to determine possible clinical implications of these changes are warranted.