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When should we stop the antibiotics? Towards biomarker guided antimicrobial therapy for dogs with sepsis.


Antibiotics have saved millions of lives since their discovery, and have enabled major progress in human and veterinary medicine. These essential therapies face unprecedented challenges of bacteria becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics. Reducing duration and intensity of of antibiotics prescribed to the minimum amount of time necessary can limit the emergence of resistance, thereby preserving these life-saving drugs for future patients.

Goals: The purpose of this study is to investigate the time course of biomarkers in dogs treated for sepsis with standard care, which involves antimicrobials and early surgical management if necessary. This information will enable us to identify the timepoint at which the biomarkers return to baseline and hence the timepoint at which antibiotics may safely be discontinued. This information will enable us to design a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a biomarker guided antimicrobial strategy for canine septic peritonitis. Ultimately, we aim to reduce unnecessary antimicrobial administration without compromising patient safety.

Eligibility: Any dog seen by the Cornell University Hospital for Animals Emergency and Critical Care Service diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia, septic peritonitis, or pyometra.

Compensation: While there is no direct benefit to you, your dog will benefit from the availability of additional diagnostic information that may help to inform their treatment. Other dogs will benefit from your involvement in the study through identification of the changes that occur in bloodstream biomarkers over time. This information will enable us to design further studies designed to determine the best way to safely deliver antibiotics and limit development of resistant bacteria. Ultimately, this will benefit all dogs by decreasing development of antibiotic resistance.

Owner Responsibilities:  If you agree to let your dog participate in this study, it will be your responsibility to bring your dog back to the CUHA Critical Care service on days 7, 14, 28 and 60 following his/her admission to the CUHA for a blood draw. We will collect a small amount of blood while your dog is hospitalized and at all recheck visits. If your dog is diagnosed with pneumonia, we will take 2-view chest x-rays on days 1, 14, 28, and 60.

Principal Investigator: Julie Menard, DVM, DACVECC

Contact/Schedule an Appointment: Please call the clinical trials coordinator at 607.253.3060 or email

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