C-reactive protein (CRP) is a new diagnostic test that will help you to identify patients with acute inflammation, and to monitor the severity and progress of disease in your sick patients.
What is CRP?
C-reactive protein is an acute phase protein that is produced by the liver in response to cytokine stimulation from leukocytes in tissues with inflammation. CRP rises quickly and is more sensitive than leukocyte patterns, leukocyte toxic change, or pyrexia as a marker of inflammation. Unlike fibrinogen, which is affected by haemostatic changes, CRP is solely a reflection of inflammatory disease. It is measured in serum and doesn’t require additional sample volume when added to your standard biochemical profile of choice. Gribbles Veterinary Pathology has included this test in the total body function profile.
Indications for testing
CRP can help you answer these questions:
- Sick animals: Is this a stress leukogram or an inflammatory leukogram?
- Monitoring treatment for infection, inflammation, or post-surgical complications: Is my patient improving?
- Vague history or "not quite right": Is this due to inflammatory disease? How aggressively do I need to investigate?
- Cases with normal or nonspecific biochemistry findings: Is there something the other lab results haven’t told me yet?
- Annual or wellness health checks: Is this patient as healthy as it looks?
- Immunosuppressed or immunocompromised patients, particularly those undergoing or about to undergo chemotherapy or long term corticosteroid treatment: Is there any inflammation that could affect treatment success?
CRP analysis can help to guide and justify your usage of anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics, alongside your imaging, culture, and other laboratory testing.
The animal is unlikely to have a current systemic inflammatory process of significance. Any clinical signs are more likely to be due to disease without an active inflammatory component.
Borderline results; there may be a minor component of inflammation, or there may be early or resolving inflammatory disease . It is also possible that renal disease reduces clearance of CRP, leading to concentrations in this range.
Most animals with significant inflammatory disease will have concentrations in this range, often well above 100 mg/L.
Serum (minimum 1 ml)
Plain tube, gel tube
Fasted sample preferred. Haemolysis and lipaemia will affect test accuracy and should be avoided.