Sonoclot® evaluation of single- and multiple-dose subcutaneous unfractionated heparin therapy in healthy adult dogs

J Vet Intern Med. 2012 May-Jun;26(3):631-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2012.00907.x. Epub 2012 Mar 22.


Background: Heparin therapy is difficult to monitor due to variation in animal response. While laboratory measurements of activated partial thromboplasin time (aPTT) and Anti-Xa activity (AXA) accurately describe heparin effect, their availability is limited.

Hypothesis: Sonoclot analysis would be as sensitive as AXA and aPTT to monitor effects of unfractionated heparin (UFH) in healthy adult dogs.

Animals: Six adult mixed-breed dogs.

Methods: A prospective study design was employed. On day 1, baseline samples were collected (CBC, PT, aPTT, and Sonoclot), and UFH (300 U/kg SC) was administered to 6 dogs following an IV loading dose of 50 U/kg. Sonoclot and aPTT were performed hourly for 12 hours. AXA was assayed at hours 3, 6, 9, and 12. UFH (300 U/kg q8 h SC) was administered at 12 hours, and subsequently (q8 h) for 2 additional days. On day 4, a final dose of UFH was administered, and a sampling protocol identical to day 1 was performed.

Results: Sonoclot activated clotting time (ACT) and clot rate (CR) correlated with AXA (R = 0.69, R = 0.65, respectively, P < .001), although to a lesser degree than aPTT (R = 0.75, P < .001). Linear regression using ACT and CR as covariates indicated a stronger correlation with AXA (R = 0.73, P < .001). ACT values strongly correlated with aPTT (R = 0.87, P < .001).

Conclusions and clinical importance: Administration of UFH to healthy dogs results in progressive changes in Sonoclot values. AXA was correlated with a combination of ACT and CR and with aPTT. Sonoclot may play a role in monitoring UFH therapy; however, prospective studies evaluating its utility in clinical cases are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticoagulants / blood
  • Anticoagulants / pharmacology*
  • Blood Coagulation Tests / methods
  • Blood Coagulation Tests / veterinary*
  • Dogs / blood*
  • Female
  • Heparin / blood
  • Heparin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin