Serum cortisol and thyroxine concentrations as predictors of death in critically ill puppies with parvoviral diarrhea

Objective-To evaluate the role of adrenal and thyroid hormones in the prediction of death in a population of critically ill puppies with parvoviral diarrhea by measuring serial daily serum concentrations of cortisol and thyroxine. Design-Prospective case-control study Animals-57 critically ill puppies with parvoviral diarrhea admitted to the hospital and 17 clinically normal control puppies. Procedures-Basal serum cortisol and thyroxine concentrations were measured for each dog with parvoviral diarrhea at admission (prior to treatment) and daily until death, euthanasia, or discharge. Results-Median time between admission and death was 48 hours (ie, on day 3). Median serum cortisol concentration on day 1 (admission) in all dogs with parvoviral diarrhea (248 nmol/L) was significantly higher than in control dogs (77 nmol/L). No significant difference was found in the day 1 median serum cortisol concentration of 11 dogs that died (302 nmol/L) and 46 dogs that survived (238 nmol/L). A significantly higher median serum cortisol concentration was, however, found in nonsurvivor group dogs, compared with survivor group dogs, on days 2 and 3. Median serum thyroxine concentration on day 1 in dogs with parvoviral diarrhea was significantly lower than in control dogs (8.12 nmol/L vs 35 nmol/L, respectively). Median serum thyroxine concentration of nonsurvivor group dogs (4.4 nmol/L) was significantly lower than that of survivor group dogs (9.2 nmol/L) at admission and became even lower on days 2 and 3. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-High serum cortisol and low serum thyroxine concentrations at 24 and 48 hours after admission were associated with death in dogs with parvoviral diarrhea.

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa.

Schoeman JP, Goddard A, Herrtage ME.