Plasma C-Reactive Protein and Haptoglobin Concentrations in Critically Ill Neonatal Foals

Kristin A. Zabrecky, N. M. Slovis, P. D. Constable, S. D. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Accurate diagnostic markers for sepsis in neonatal foals are needed. Plasma C-reactive protein concentration (p[CRP]) and haptoglobin concentration (p[Hp]) are well-established biomarkers of infection in humans, but studies are lacking in foals. Hypotheses: p[CRP]) and p[Hp] are increased in septic foals compared to sick nonseptic and healthy control foals, and are predictive of survival. Animals: Eighty critically ill foals (40 septic, 40 sick nonseptic) and 39 healthy control foals <1 week of age. Methods: Multicenter, prospective observational clinical study. Venous blood was collected at admission from septic and sick nonseptic foals and from clinically healthy foals at 24 h of age. A diagnosis of sepsis was made based on positive blood culture or a sepsis score >11, and p[CRP] and p[Hp] were measured by using ELISA tests. Data were analyzed by using the Mann-Whitney U-test and forward stepwise multivariable linear regression. P < .05 was considered significant. Results: Plasma [CRP] was positively associated with age, serum globulin, adrenomedullin, and bilirubin concentrations, aspartate aminotransferase activity, glutamyl-transferase activity, band neutrophil count, and rectal temperature, and was increased in foals with toxic neutrophils, enterocolitis, colic, rib fractures and septic arthritis. Surprisingly, p[Hp] was lower in septic foals than in sick nonseptic foals. Neither p[CRP] or p[Hp] was predictive of survival in critically ill foals. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Plasma [CRP] increases with inflammation in neonatal foals but is not indicative of sepsis. Single time point, admission sampling of p[CRP] and p[Hp] do not appear to be useful biomarkers for sepsis in foals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-677
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • C-reactive protein
  • Foal
  • Haptoglobin
  • Sepsis
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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