To date, there have been few, if any, studies evaluating the venom toxin levels in dogs that have been naturally envenomated by pit vipers. Understanding venom toxin pharmacokinetics in a clinical setting is important for a variety of reasons, including the potential to better elucidate treatment options, prognosis, and other factors associated with pit viper envenomation. In addition, dogs serve as a comparative species to humans for evaluating pit viper envenomations. This pilot study’s primary objective was to address the question of “What do we see?” in dogs presenting for rattlesnake envenomation. To answer this question, we obtained serum from envenomated dogs presenting at three veterinary clinics, then used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blot analysis to measure total venom and key toxins in sera. Phospholipase A2, a primary venom toxin, was identified in a few samples by the western blot, and contributed to the positive correlation between percent echinocytes in the blood and venom concentration. Medical data records were compared to venom concentrations measured using ELISA to determine whether there were any significant correlations. First, the hematological results were compared. Clotting times showed a strong positive correlation, clotting times and platelets showed a negative correlation, while echinocytes and platelets showed no correlation. When compared to venom concentration, clotting times showed a negative correlation, while age showed a positive correlation. Weight and platelets were also compared to venom concentration, but no significant correlations were found. The logistics of this study provided a real-world model where time elapsed between envenomation and hospital admission, thus giving a realistic look at what occurs in both animal and human medicine.
- Toxin Level Analysis in Dogs Envenomated by Pit Vipers in Arizona
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