The body's early defence in response to trauma, inflammation or infection, the acute phase response, is a complex set of systemic reactions seen shortly after exposure to a triggering event. One of the many components is an acute phase protein response in which increased hepatic synthesis leads to increased serum concentration of positive acute phase proteins. The serum concentration of these acute phase proteins returns to base levels when the triggering factor is no longer present. This paper provides a review of the acute phase proteins haptoglobin, C-reactive protein and serum amyloid A and their possible use as non-specific indicators of health in large animal veterinary medicine such as in the health status surveillance of pigs at the herd level, for the detection of mastitis in dairy cattle and for the prognosis of respiratory diseases in horses.
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