Journal of the South African Veterinary Association
On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128
HILL, J M; LEISEWITZ, A L and GODDARD, A. The utility of uric acid assay in dogs as an indicator of functional hepatic mass. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2011, vol.82, n.2, pp.86-93. ISSN 2224-9435.
Uric acid was used as a test for liver disease before the advent of enzymology. Three old studies criticised uric acid as a test of liver function. Uric acid, as an end-product of purine metabolism in the liver, deserved re-evaluation as a liver function test. Serum total bile acids are widely accepted as the most reliable liver function test. This study compared the ability of serum uric acid concentration to assess liver function with that of serum pre-prandial bile acids in dogs. In addition, due to the renal excretion of uric acid the 2 assays were also compared in a renal disease group. Using a control group of healthy dogs, a group of dogs with congenital vascular liver disease, a group of dogs with non-vascular parenchymal liver diseases and a renal disease group, the ability of uric acid and pre-prandial bile acids was compared to detect reduced functional hepatic mass overall and in the vascular or parenchymal liver disease groups separately. Sensitivities, specificities and predictive value parameters were calculated for each test. The medians of uric acid concentration did not differ significantly between any of the groups, whereas pre-prandial bile acids medians were significantly higher in the liver disease groups compared with the normal and renal disease group of dogs. The sensitivity of uric acid in detecting liver disease overall was 65 % while the specificity of uric acid in detecting liver disease overall was 59 %. The sensitivity and specificity of uric acid in detecting congenital vascular liver disease was 68 % and 59 %, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of uric acid in detecting parenchymal liver disease was 63 % and 60 %, respectively. The overall positive and negative predictive values for uric acid in detecting liver disease were poor and the data in this study indicated uric acid to be an unreliable test of liver function. In dogs suffering from renal compromise serum uric acid concentrations may increase into the abnormal range due to its renal route of excretion.
Keywords : bile acids; dog; hepatic function; uric acid.