Acute phase proteins (APPs) have been used as biomarkers of inflammation, infection and trauma for decades in human medicine but have been relatively under-utilised in the context of veterinary medicine. However, significant progress has been made in the detection, measurement and application of APPs as biomarkers in both companion and farm animal medicine over recent years. In the dog, C-reactive protein, haptoglobin and serum amyloid A have been identified as significant diagnostic 'markers' of steroid-responsive meningitis-arteritis, while in cats and cattle haptoglobin and alpha(1) acid glycoprotein and haptoglobin and serum amyloid A have proved valuable biomarkers of disease, respectively. In dairy cattle, haptoglobin and a mammary-associated serum amyloid A3 isoform, produced by the inflamed mammary gland during episodes of mastitis, have great potential as biomarkers of this economically important disease. Understanding the use of APP as biomarkers of inflammatory conditions of domestic animals has expanded significantly over recent years, and, with the insights provided by ongoing research, it is likely that these compounds will be increasingly used in the future in the diagnosis and prognosis of both companion and farm animal disease.
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