Hemostatic analysis of dogs naturally envenomed by the African puffadder (Bitis arietans) and snouted cobra (Naja annulifera)

15 Jun 2015

OBJECTIVE – To investigate hemostatic changes in dogs envenomed by cytotoxic (African puffadder) and neurotoxic snakes (snouted cobra) using thromboelastography (TEG) and plasma-based coagulation assays. DESIGN – Prospective observational clinical study. SETTING – University teaching hospital. ANIMALS – Eighteen client-owned dogs; 9 envenomed by African puffadder (Bitis arietans) and 9 by snouted cobra (Naja annulifera). Ten healthy dogs served as controls. INTERVENTIONS – None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS – Blood was collected at presentation and 24 hours post envenomation. Platelet count, TEG, prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), antithrombin activity, and fibrinogen (Fib) and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations were measured. Outcomes were analyzed using linear mixed models at 5% significance. At presentation, R time was significantly prolonged in the puffadder group compared to the cobra (P = 0.01) and control groups (P = 0.05). Platelet count was significantly lower in the puffadder compared to the cobra (P = 0.04) and control groups (P = 0.001), respectively. Antithrombin activity was significantly decreased in the puffadder (P = 0.002) and cobra groups (P = 0.004) compared to the control group. Both prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time were significantly prolonged in the cobra group compared to the control group (P = 0.03 for both). The TEG variables, maximum amplitude (MA) and G, were significantly increased 24 hours post envenomation in the puffadder group compared to their values at presentation (P = 0.05 for both). Fib and CRP concentrations were significantly increased 24 hours post envenomation in both snake-envenomed groups. CONCLUSIONS – Prolonged clot initiation was a common feature in puffadder-envenomed dogs at presentation and this was likely venom induced. Snouted cobra-envenomed dogs were normo- to hypercoagulable at presentation. Dogs from both puffadder and cobra groups progressed to a more hypercoagulable by 24 hours post envenomation, most likely due to marked inflammation as indicated by the increased Fib and CRP concentrations. TEG proved a sensitive tool for detecting abnormal hemostasis in snake-envenomed dogs.