Test quickly diagnoses infections in pets

U. MISSOURI (US) — A simple blood test that may diagnose pet infections in approximately a third of the current time could lead to a similar test for humans.

“Infections can be difficult to diagnose, and many veterinarians have to send samples to a lab and wait three days or more as the lab attempts to grow a culture,” says Amy DeClue, assistant professor of veterinary internal medicine at the University of Missouri.

“Meanwhile, the infection continues to spread each day that veterinarians wait on lab results, which is detrimental to the patient. In extreme infections, called sepsis, more than half of patients die.


“My group has been evaluating different blood biomarkers that could give a quick and accurate indication of infection, and we believe we’ve found a biomarker that will only require a simple blood test.”

In a  study published in the journal Veterinary Record, DeClue and colleagues report that measuring the amount of the blood biomarker N-terminal portion of pro C-type natriuretic peptide (NT-pCNP) is a good indication of infection. The same is true in humans.

Working with collaborators at Veterinary Diagnostics Institute, DeClue hopes to develop a portable bedside test that veterinarians could use to quickly test patients for infection and ultimately target a better cure.

“In animal and human medicine, one goal is to reduce the amount of antibiotics used in treatment, to reduce bacterial resistance to antibiotics,” DeClue says. “If successful, future tests could help veterinarians tailor treatment to the specific problem and reduce antibiotic use.

“The systems in dogs and people are very applicable to each other, so whatever biomarkers we find in dogs could also benefit people.”

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