BackgroundMyocarditis is a disease caused by numerous etiological factors and characterized by a non-specific course. The only method allowing for precise characterization of inflammatory changes is the histopathological examination of heart muscle specimens. The study was conducted on heart muscle preparations from 11 dogs with ante-mortem diagnosis of cardiac disease. Animals presented with a poor response to an applied treatment or had suspected sudden cardiac death. The heart specimens were taken post-mortem, preserved and stained with haematoxylin and eosin. Subsequently, the presence and intensity of changes, i.e. inflammatory infiltration, the amount of connective tissue and features of cardiomyocyte degeneration were estimated. The specimens from dogs suspected of having a myocarditis of bacteriological etiology underwent additional bacteriological and immunohistochemical examination.ResultsThe examination revealed an inflammatory infiltration of variable intensity combined with the degenerative changes in all dogs. There were vegetative and abnormal cystic forms of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in 6 dogs. A Staphylococcus aureus infection was confirmed in one dog and an acute coronary syndrome with neutrophil infiltration was revealed in another one.ConclusionsAlthough the clinical pattern in patients with myocarditis is diverse, the definitive morphological diagnosis is made based on the histopathological examination. This examination can lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first description of myocarditis combined with the presence of spore forms of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in the heart specimens of dogs.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13620-014-0028-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
IntroductionThe prevalence of arrhythmias in dogs and the influence of sex, breed, age, and body weight were analysed over a seven-year span.Material and MethodsIn total, 1189 referrals for cardiological examination by electrocardiography were received at one academic centre in Poland between 2008 and 2014. The largest proportion of the examined dogs were cross-breeds with body weight below 25 kg (n = 153, 12.87%), followed by German Shepherds (n = 122, 10.26%), Labrador Retrievers (n = 68, 5.72%), Yorkshire Terriers (n = 63, 5.3%), and Boxers (n = 60, 5.05%). Retrospective analysis was made of 1201 standing or right recumbent electrocardiograms without pharmacological sedation. The prevalence of arrhythmias was examined in terms of sex, age, body weight, and breed of the dogs.ResultsA total of 630 (52.46%) electrocardiograms showed no signs of arrhythmia, but 96 (7.99%) and 475 (39.55%) pointed to physiological and pathological arrhythmias respectively. The most commonly diagnosed type was atrial fibrillation with 33.68% incidence, followed by ventricular arrhythmias (28%), sinus pauses (27.58%), supraventricular arrhythmias (24%), and atrioventricular blocks (22.95%). Pathological arrhythmias were most commonly found in male dogs and in German Shepherds.ConclusionsAtrial fibrillation predominated, followed by premature ventricular complexes. Male dogs were generally more prone to heart rhythm disturbances.
In the period of 3 years, 9 tumours of chemodectoma were supravitally diagnosed and histopathologically verified in dogs. In this period 15 351 dogs were admitted to the Clinic of Dogs and Cats and 2 145 dogs were examined in the cardiological outpatient clinic for dogs. This tumour is located in a typical place - at the base of the heart. Most frequently the tumour manifested in older boxers. Only in one case such a tumour was diagnosed in another breed of dogs. The tumours ranged in size between 3 and 16 cm in diameter. The principal sign accompanying tumours of cardiac base involved dyspnoea but in 3 cases the tumours yielded no clinical signs. All the diagnoses were additionally verified using immunohistochemical examination. We used antibodies to chromogranin A (clone DAK-A3 1:100), synaptophysin (clone SY38 1:20) and neuron-specific enolase (clone BBS/NC/VI-H14 1:150). An immunohistochemical examination is vital for the diagnosis since it allows to differentiate histologically distinct types of neoplasia which may locate in the same site and may manifest a similar histological pattern.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a well established mortality risk factor in both healthy dogs and those with heart failure. While the standards for short-term HRV analysis have been developed in humans, only reference values for HRV parameters determined from 24-hour ECG have been proposed in dogs. The aim of this study was to develop the reference values for short-term HRV parameters in a group of 50 healthy dogs of various breeds (age 4.86 ± 2.74 years, body weight 12.2 ± 3.88 kg). The ECG was recorded continuously for at least 180 min in a dark and quiet room. All electrocardiograms were inspected automatically and manually to eliminate atrial or ventricular premature complexes. Signals were transformed into a spectrum using the fast Fourier transform. The HRV parameters were measured at fixed times from 60-min ECG segments. The following time-domain parameters (ms) were analyzed: mean NN, SDNN, SDANN, SDNN index, rMSSD and pNN50. Moreover, frequency-domain parameters (Hz) were determined, including very low frequency (VLF), low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) components, total power (TP) and the LF/HF ratio. The results (means ± SD) were as follows: mean NN = 677.68 ± 126.89; SDNN = 208.86 ± 77.1; SDANN = 70.75 ± 30.9; SDNN index = 190.75 ± 76.12; rMSSD = 259 ± 120.17, pNN50 = 71.84 ± 13.96; VLF = 984.96 ± 327.7; LF = 1501.24 ± 736.32; HF = 5845.45 ± 2914.20; TP = 11065.31 ± 3866.87; LF/HF = 0.28 ± 0.11.
BackgroundP-wave dispersion (Pd) is a new ECG index used in human cardiology and veterinary medicine. It is defined as the difference between the maximum and the minimum P-wave duration recorded from multiple different ECG leads. So far no studies were performed assessing the importance of P-wave dispersion in dogs.MethodsThe current study was aimed at determining proper value of Pd in healthy dogs (group I), dogs with chronic valvular disease (group II) and dogs with disturbances of supraventricular conduction (group III). The tests were carried out in 53 healthy dogs, 23 dogs with chronic valvular disease and 12 dogs with disturbances of supraventricular conduction of various breeds, sexes and body weight from 1,5 to 80 kg, aged between 0,5 and 17 years, submitted to the ECG examination. ECG was acquired in dogs in a standing position with BTL SD-8 electrocardiographic device and analyzed once the recording was enlarged. P-wave duration was calculated in 9 ECG leads (I, II, III, aVR, aVL, aVF, V1, V2, V4) from 5 cardiac cycles.ResultsThe proper P-wave dispersion in healthy dogs was determined at up to 24 ms. P-wave dispersion was statistically significant increased (p < 0.01) in dogs with chronic valvular disease and dogs with disturbances of supraventricular conduction. In dogs with the atrial enlargement the P-wave dispersion is also higher than in healthy dogs, although no significant correlation between the size of left atria and Pd was noticed (p = 0.1, r = 0,17).ConclusionsThe P-wave dispersion is a constant index in healthy dogs, that is why it can be used for evaluating P wave change in dogs with chronic valvular disease and in dogs with disturbances of supraventricular conduction.
BackgroundDilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and chronic mitral valve disease (CMVD) in dogs are associated with heart chamber enlargement, also of the left atrium. DCM is often accompanied by rhythm disturbances (mainly atrial fibrillation or ventricular arrhythmias). In CMVD, arrhythmias are observed less frequently. It is still unclear whether left atrial enlargement in these diseases results from volume overload or if it is also connected with other factors (e.g. rhythm disturbances).This study was conducted on the left atrial myocardial specimens from 31 dogs, including those from 16 dogs with clinically diagnosed DCM and 15 dogs with CMVD. After fixation and staining (using haematoxylin-eosin and Masson-Goldner trichrome stain), the specimens underwent evaluation. Parenchymal changes (fibrosis, fatty infiltration, and vessel narrowing), degenerative changes (loss of striation, changes in cardiomyocyte structure, and abnormal cell nuclei) and the presence of inflammatory infiltrates were assessed.ResultsMore interstitial fibrosis (median 4 vs. 2.5 grid fields; p < 0.05) and less perivascular fibrosis (median score 1 vs. 2; p < 0.05) was observed in the DCM group compared to the CMVD group. Moreover, less distinct vessel narrowing was observed in the DCM group than in the CMVD group (median lumen area ratio 0.3 vs. 0.26 respectively; p < 0.05). Dogs with DCM showed more strongly defined degenerative changes than the CMVD dogs (median nuclei enlargement score 3 vs. 1, median loss of striation score 3 vs. 2 and median structural alterations score 3 vs. 2, respectively; p < 0.05).ConclusionThe obtained results indicate a different nature of changes occurring in the left atrial myocardium of dogs with DCM compared to dogs with mitral valve disease, including differences in vessel narrowing, cardiomyocyte degeneration and in the distribution of connective tissue.
Heart rate variability is an established risk factor for mortality in both healthy dogs and animals with heart failure. The aim of this study was to compare short-term heart rate variability (ST-HRV) parameters from 60-min electrocardiograms in dogs with sick sinus syndrome (SSS, n=20) or chronic mitral valve disease (CMVD, n=20) and healthy controls (n=50), and to verify the clinical application of ST-HRV analysis. The study groups differed significantly in terms of both time -and frequency-domain ST-HRV parameters. In the case of dogs with SSS and healthy controls, particularly evident differences pertained to HRV parameters linked directly to the variability of R-R intervals. Lower values of standard deviation of all R-R intervals (SDNN), standard deviation of the averaged R-R intervals for all 5-min segments (SDANN), mean of the standard deviations of all R-R intervals for all 5-min segments (SDNNI) and percentage of successive R-R intervals >50 ms (pNN50) corresponded to a decrease in parasympathetic regulation of heart rate in dogs with CMVD. These findings imply that ST-HRV may be useful for the identification of dogs with SSS and for detection of dysautonomia in animals with CMVD.
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