Letendre: Determining prognosis in canine trauma through bedside measurement of cell-free DNA

Study Objectives

1.  To evaluate the accuracy of a point-of-care assay for rapid bedside measurement of cfDNA in dogs

2.  To investigate the utility of plasma cfDNA as a prognostic marker in canine trauma

We hypothesize that in dogs with trauma, plasma cfDNA concentrations:

• Are accurately measured using a point-of-care analyzer

• Positively correlate with established injury severity scores

• Are lower in dogs that survive to discharge

• Positively correlate with hospitalization duration in dogs that survive to discharge


Trauma is a very common reason for presentation of dogs to veterinary emergency rooms, but it remains a challenge to predict the prognosis of dogs with traumatic injuries. Increased plasma concentrations of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) are detectable in people with trauma and correlate with prognosis, although the source of this cfDNA is uncertain. To date there are no publications of cfDNA in dogs, but we have recently identified that traumatized dogs have significantly increased plasma cfDNA compared to healthy controls. Current injury severity scores have limited prognostic ability and identification of an accurate, easy to measure bedside biomarker that correlates with injury severity and prognosis in injured dogs would be a major advance.