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Evaluating a potential marker of cardiac disease in dogs

S. J. Ettinger, G. Farace, S. D. Forney, M. Frye, A. Beardow

N-TERMINAL pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) has potential as a marker of cardiac disease in dogs. This study evaluated NT-proBNP concentration in a population of dogs with and without cardiac disease, and defined the upper reference limit for plasma NT-proBNP concentration in healthy dogs.

A total of 1134 dogs were enrolled in the study. Each dog underwent a physical examination, electrocardiography, Doppler echocardiography and thoracic radiography. Venous blood samples were collected for haematology, serum biochemical analysis and measurement of NT-proBNP concentration. Cardiac status was assigned using a nine-grade modified cardiac disease classification system and a simplified four-stage cardiac scoring system. Vertebral heart score (VHS) was assigned in a subset of 280 dogs. Associations between NT-proBNP concentration and other variables were analysed statistically. The sensitivity and specificity of NT-proBNP concentration and VHS to detect dogs with clinical signs of cardiac disease were evaluated.

A total of 974 dogs had cardiac disease, 37 had non-cardiac-related disease and 123 were healthy. Plasma NT-proBNP concentration was found to correlate with cardiac grade …

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