Development and implementation of a novel immune thrombocytopenia bleeding score for dogs

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Abstract

Background:

A method of quantifying clinical bleeding in dogs with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is needed because ITP patients have variable bleeding tendencies that inconsistently correlate with platelet count. A scoring system will facilitate patient comparisons and allow stratification based on bleeding severity in clinical trials.

Hypothesis/Objectives:

To develop and evaluate a bleeding assessment tool for dogs, and a training course for improving its consistent implementation.

Animals:

Client-owned dogs (n = 61) with platelet counts <50,000/μL; 34 classified as primary ITP, 17 as secondary ITP, and 10 as non-ITP.

Methods:

A novel bleeding assessment tool, DOGiBAT, comprising bleeding grades from 0 (none) to 2 (severe) at 9 anatomic sites, was developed. Clinicians and technicians completed a training course and quiz before scoring thrombocytopenic patients. The training course was assessed by randomizing student volunteers to take the quiz with or without prior training. A logistic regression model assessed the association between training and quiz performance. The correlation of DOGiBAT score with platelet count and outcome measures was assessed in the thrombocytopenic dogs.

Results:

Clinicians and technicians consistently applied the DOGiBAT, correctly scoring all quiz cases. The odds of trained students answering correctly were higher than those of untrained students (P < .0001). In clinical cases, DOGiBAT score and platelet count were inversely correlated (rs = −0.527, P < .0001), and DOGiBAT directly correlated with transfusion requirements (rs = 0.512, P < .0001) and hospitalization duration (rs = 0.35, P = .006).

Conclusions and Clinical Importance:

The DOGiBAT and assessment quiz are simple tools to standardize evaluation of bleeding severity. With further validation, the DOGiBAT may provide a clinically relevant metric to characterize ITP severity and monitor response in treatment trials.

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