Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Resident: Ariane Jay-Silva
Mentor: James Flanders

Department of Clinical Sciences
Email:; Phone: 607-253-3029
Sponsor: College of Veterinary Medicine - Resident Research Grants Program
Grant Number: N/A
Title: Biomarker Quantification to Identify Malignant Etiology in Dogs with Hemoperitoneum and a Splenic Mass
Project Amount: $9,510
Project Period: 08/01/13-07/31/14

DESCRIPTION: In most cases, dogs presenting with hemoperitoneum due to splenic rupture require prompt aggressive medical and surgical management including blood and plasma transfusions, and emergency splenectomy. If a splenic mass is detected during initial diagnostics, it would be extremely useful for the attending veterinarian and the dog owner to know if the mass is benign or malignant. Unfortunately, the only way to obtain a definitive diagnosis is by histopathologic evaluation of the spleen, necessitating invasive splenectomy or splenic biopsy. Additionally, for most animals splenectomy is required to control bleeding. Because the prognosis for hemangiosarcoma with surgery alone is poor (2-3 months median survival time), many owners elect to humanely euthanize their pets without definitive diagnosis. Alternatively, many owners proceed with surgery in the hope that their dog will have benign disease. The development of a rapid bedside test capable of distinguishing benign from malignant etiology of abdominal effusion would be invaluable in these cases, for owners and veterinarians alike. By providing diagnostic and prognostic information otherwise unavailable, owners would be able to make a much more informed decision, thereby immeasurably reducing emotional and financial distress, and potentially reducing morbidity and mortality in their pets.

We hypothesize that serum and/or effusion concentrations of two biomarkers, VEGF and TK1 will be higher in dogs with hemoperitoneum due to rupture of malignant splenic mass than rupture of a benign mass. We also hypothesize that measurement of effusion concentrations of TK1 and VEGF will be more sensitive and specific indicators of malignancy than measurement of serum levels. We anticipate that by evaluating two distinct biomarkers, we will develop a testing algorithm with greater sensitivity and specificity than either individual test alone.