CRP testing in dogs

Serum CRP levels increase dramatically within 4-6 hours of an inflammatory stimulus. If the inflammation ceases, CRP concentrations in the blood peak within 48 hours and then return to normal level within 1-2 weeks.This acute response to a broad spectrum of inflammatory stimuli (bacterial infection and tissue damage resulting from disease or injury) provides a rapid and reliable measure of disease progression and recovery.

The test is therefore useful in:

  • Pre and post-operative wellness testing.
  • In vivo monitoring of anti-microbial response.
  • Monitoring of treatment response and relapse in inflammatory bowel disease.

Pre-operative wellness testing

Provides a sensitive indication of any underlying infection which could result in post-operative complications

Post-operative recovery testing
CRP levels will be high immediately following surgery due to the consequent tissue damage. However, if there are no post-operative complications, the serum concentrations should begin to fall within several days. Any continuation or further elevation of CRP will indicate complications such as infection requiring urgent intervention.

In vivo monitoring of anti-microbial response

In a similar manner to post-operative recovery, successful antibiotic therapy will result in a rapid decline in CRP levels. Any continuation of elevated CRP during and after a course of antibiotics will indicate that the infection is not responding to treatment. The sensitivity of CRP tests and their rapid responses enable detection of abnormalities earlier than by physical signs alone. Reports suggest that a failure of CRP levels to decrease during the first 48 hours of treatment will indicate that an alternative antibiotic should be considered.This will become an increasingly important application of CRP testing, resulting from growing pressure on vets to limit and target their use of antibiotics, as a consequence of major concerns about human health risks from antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Monitoring of treatment response and relapse in inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common chronic condition in dogs. It can be controlled but not cured. Disease recurrence is therefore common and unpredictable.CRP has consistently been found to be the most useful activity marker for IBD in human patients where it is widely used for predicting relapse of disease. Additionally, it has been shown that a change in serum CRP concentration is useful for assessing the efficacy of drug therapy.Studies in dogs have demonstrated that reduction in CRP levels during therapy for IBD indicate treatment efficacy and can also be used as a minimally invasive, sensitive and objective means of monitoring for disease remission and recurrence.*

* McCann M, Ridyard AE, Else RW, Simpson JW. Evaluation of disease activity markers in dogs with idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. J Small Anim Pract. 2007;48:620-625.

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