According to a new study, a blood test could help veterinarians identify early signs of liver disease in dogs.
The study, conducted by a team based at the University of Edinburgh, examined blood samples taken from 250 dogs, some of whom were known to have liver disease. The researchers were looking specifically at levels of a microRNA molecule, known as miR-122, they believed to be associated with liver disease.
Levels of miR-122 were found to be higher among dogs who were known to have liver disease than those who were not.
The researchers have already begin developing a test kit that can be used by veterinarians to detect miR-122 and, consequently, liver disease.
Prior to this development, veterinarians had to rely on invasive liver biopsies to diagnose liver disease in dogs. The researchers hope this blood test-based method will help improve detection rates while also reducing complications from biopsies.
“We have found a specific, sensitive and non-invasive way to detect liver damage in dogs. We hope that our test will greatly improve outcomes by allowing vets to make rapid and accurate diagnosis.”
— Richard Mellanby, Head of Companion Animal Sciences, The Hospital for Small Animals, The University of Edinburgh
The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.