• Open Access

Serial Evaluation of Protein C and Antithrombin in Dogs with Sepsis


  • Supported by a grant from the Companion Animal Health Fund at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Presented in abstract form at the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society meeting, San Diego, CA, September 2004. The authors thank Dr Marjory Brooks, Associate Director–Coagulation Section, Animal Health Diagnostic Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University for analysis of protein C and antithrombin samples.

Corresponding author: Armelle de Laforcade DVM, DACVECC, Department of Clinical Sciences, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536; e-mail: armelle.delaforcade@tufts.edu


Background: Protein C (PC) and antithrombin (AT) activities are decreased in humans with severe sepsis, and persistent changes are associated with decreased survival. In dogs with sepsis, PC and AT have been shown to be decreased at the time of diagnosis.

Hypothesis: PC and AT activities change significantly over time in dogs with sepsis and may be related to outcome.

Animals: Twelve dogs with naturally occurring sepsis.

Methods: Blood was collected from 12 dogs with sepsis, defined as histopathologic or microbiologic confirmation of infection and two of the following: hypo- or hyperthermia, tachycardia, tachypnea, leukopenia, leukocytosis, or >3% bands. The time of 1st sampling was considered day 1 and sampling was repeated every 24 hours for 5 days or until discharge or death. Changes over time were analyzed by ANOVA with repeated measures, and the association between PC and AT and outcome was determined by a 2-equation treatment effects model.

Results: Nine dogs and 11 dogs had decreased PC and AT activity on day 1, respectively (mean PC, 66.0 ± 25.8%; mean AT, 48.1 ± 16.5%). PC activity significantly decreased from day 1 to day 2 (P= .001), then increased over time. Changes in PC (P < .001) and AT (P < .001) over time were likely associated with outcome with nonsurvivors having lower PC and AT activities than survivors.

Conclusion: Results of this preliminary study show that PC and AT activities change significantly over time in dogs with sepsis and both are likely related to survival.