Background: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common and often fatal disorder in dogs. Urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL)/creatinine ratio is a sensitive and specific biomarker of AKI in ninety-four dogs.
Methods: Prospective study. Dogs were classified as follows: (1) healthy dogs, (2) dogs with lower urinary tract disorders, (3) dogs with chronic kidney disease (CKD), (4) dogs with azotemic International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) AKI Grades II-V, and (5) dogs with IRIS AKI Grade I (nonazotemic). Urinary NGAL was quantitated in each dog using an ELISA assay and concentrations were expressed as a ratio to urinary creatinine concentration from the same specimen, and designated the urinary NGAL/creatinine ratio (UNCR).
Results: There was a significant difference in UNCR among the study groups (P < .001). Both the azotemic and nonazotemic AKI groups had higher UNCR when compared with all other groups (P < .001 for all pairs). There was a statistically significant difference in UNCR between dogs diagnosed with CKD compared with dogs with lower urinary tract diseases (P = .005) as well as between dogs with CKD and healthy dogs (P = .001). Receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analysis of UNCR as an indicator of azotemic and nonazotemic AKI had an area under the ROC curve of 0.94 and 0.96, respectively.
Conclusion and clinical relevance: NGAL/creatinine ratio is a sensitive and specific marker of AKI. It can be used to screen patients at risk for AKI and can be utilized to diagnose milder forms of AKI potentially earlier in the course of the disease.