Background: Proteomics in companion animal medicine has been used
chiefly, in order to identify proteins, which may be used as biomarkers for early
diagnosis of a variety of pathological conditions, as well as to elucidate pathogenesis
of various diseases by describing, at molecular level, signal transductions
in diseased organs.
Objective: The review of some of currently available knowledge in proteomics, as
can be applied in companion animal medicine and can be of use to veterinarians
active in the field, in order to solve scientific or clinical questions regarding signal
Method: Specific clinical applications of the methodologies are reviewed.
Results: Proteomics may be employed in supporting early and accurate diagnosis of leishmaniosis,
as well as for the identification of proteins of the causative protozoon, and can also be helpful in
cases of neoplastic diseases; proteins identified in blood serum or tears of dogs or cats may be used
to support diagnosis of various neoplastic conditions and to monitor treatment and predict future metastases.
Proteomics have helped to identify proteins with diagnostic significance in the blood serum
of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with myxomatous mitral valve degeneration and in the bronchoalveolar
lavage fluid of West Highland White Terriers with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and have
also been used for studying the musculoskeletal system of horses, specifically in laminitis, osteoarthritis
and osteochondrosis and exertional rhabdomyolysis. The technology has also been applied
in various other diseases of dogs and cats (e.g., Leptospira infections, Babesia infections,
Golden Retriever muscular dystrophy, degenerative myelopathy, degenerative changes in the brain,
azotaemia, periodontitis), as well as in uveitis and endometritis in horses and in staphylococcal infections
and tularaemia in rabbits.
Conclusion: In the long term, proteomics will contribute to improvements in all facets of companion
animal medicine. Mining deeper into the various proteomes and application of new methodological
strategies in clinical studies will provide information about disease processes, which will be of benefit
to practising veterinarians. Improvement of diagnostic techniques, establishment of prognostic
tools and development of vaccines against diseases are key-areas for targeted research.