2006-07: Project Four
Is a human CRP assay useful for studying acute pancreatitis and atherosclerosis in dogs?
Drs. Valerie Wong, Marion Jackson and Beverly Kidney
C-reactive protein is an acute phase protein in many species and a very sensitive marker of acute inflammation in dogs. However, the current method for measuring canine CRP is very time consuming and labour intensive — making it difficult for veterinarians to conduct routine screening of CRP levels as in human medicine. In this study, researchers in WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Pathology hope to validate an automated human assay and provide a more efficient method for measuring CRP in dogs. As well, the WCVM research team will investigate the usefulness of CRP level as a prognostic indicator for acute pancreatitis in dogs.
Scientists will also measure CRP levels in serum samples from healthy miniature schnauzer dogs — a breed that’s predisposed to atherosclerosis (thickened blood vessel walls due to fatty deposits). While this condition is common in humans, it’s rarely diagnosed in dogs. Human medical research has shown that CRP may not be just a marker for atherosclerosis but a mediator of this condition. Once WCVM scientists have established baseline CRP levels in miniature schnauzer dogs, this work could lead to future studies evaluating the association between CRP levels and the higher risk of atherosclerosis in this dog breed.