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Plasma procalcitonin concentrations are increased in dogs with sepsis
  1. Robert Goggs1,
  2. Matthew Milloway1,
  3. Roberta Troia2 and
  4. Massimo Giunti2
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York City, USA
  2. 2 Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert Goggs; r.goggs{at}


Sepsis, the life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection, is difficult to identify and to prognosticate for. In people with sepsis, procalcitonin (PCT) measurement aids diagnosis, enables therapeutic monitoring and improves prognostic accuracy. This study used a commercial canine PCT assay to measure plasma PCT concentrations in dogs with gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) syndrome and in dogs with sepsis. It was hypothesised that dogs with GDV syndrome and with sepsis have greater plasma PCT concentrations than healthy dogs and that dogs with sepsis have greater PCT concentrations than dogs with GDV syndrome. Before analysing canine plasma samples, the ability of the assay to identify canine PCT, in addition to assay imprecision and the lower limit of detection were established. The assay had low imprecision with coefficients of variation ≤4.5 per cent. The lower limit of detection was 3.4 pg/ml. Plasma PCT concentrations were measured in 20 dogs with sepsis, in 32 dogs with GDV syndrome and in 52 healthy dogs. Median (IQR) PCT concentration in dogs with sepsis 78.7 pg/ml (39.1–164.7) was significantly greater than in healthy dogs 49.8 pg/ml (36.2–63.7) (P=0.019), but there were no significant differences between PCT concentrations in dogs with GDV syndrome and controls (P=0.072) or between dogs with sepsis and GDV syndrome (P=1.000). Dogs with sepsis have significantly increased plasma PCT concentrations compared with healthy dogs, although considerable overlap between these populations was identified. Future investigations should confirm this finding in other populations and evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic value of PCT in dogs with sepsis.

  • procalcitonin
  • sepsis
  • GDV
  • systemic inflammatory response syndrome
  • dogs
  • biomarker

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  • Contributors All authors listed fulfilled the following criteria: (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content. Specifically, RG conceived the study, performed assays and data analysis and wrote the manuscript; MM performed assays, data analysis and manuscript revision, RT performed assays, data analysis and manuscript revision, MG assisted with study design, data interpretation and manuscript revision. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding This research was supported by funds from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. RT was supported by research budget BIR15Q8 from the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article and its supplementary information files.

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