Echocardiographic reference intervals in healthy UK deerhounds and prevalence of preclinical dilated cardiomyopathy: a prospective, longitudinal study

J Vet Cardiol. 2022 Apr:40:142-155. doi: 10.1016/j.jvc.2021.04.001. Epub 2021 Apr 28.


Background: Sighthounds have high echocardiographic (ECHO) left ventricular volumes. Establishing robust breed-specific ECHO reference intervals (RI) for screening is important. End-diastolic volume index (EDVI), end-systolic volume index (ESVI) and ejection fraction (EF) reference ranges derived by Simpson's method of discs are not available for deerhounds. The influence of sex or body weight (BW) on left ventricular diameter during diastole (LVDd) and systole (LVDs) has never been reported.

Objectives: Prospectively determine ECHO RI and assess prevalence of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in healthy UK deerhounds.

Animals: Ninety-nine deerhounds.

Methods: Deerhounds scored on ECHO and ECG variables then classified as normal (NORM), equivocal (EQUIV) or affected (AFF) with DCM. Fifty-nine NORM deerhounds used to determine ECHO RI.

Results: Prevalence of DCM was 21.6%. There were significant differences in BW (P<0.001), LVDd (P<0.001) and LVDs (P<0.05) between female and male deerhounds. Cut-off values for EDVI (≥140.2 mL/m2: 79% sensitivity/97% specificity), ESVI (≥71.9 mL/m2: 94.7% sensitivity/94.2% specificity) and EF (≤42.1%: 84.2% sensitivity/92.8% specificity) were proposed to help diagnose DCM. The most reliable ECHO variables to identify AFF dogs were LVDs indexed to BW by allometric scaling and ESVI; one of the least reliable was sphericity index. Ventricular arrhythmias (VA) were identified in 13.6% of the population, with the highest prevalence in AFF deerhounds (42%).

Conclusions: Preclinical DCM in deerhounds is common and VA may be associated with DCM. Healthy deerhounds have higher LVDd, LVDs and EDVI compared with other breeds. This study provides ECHO RIs for deerhounds; sex or BW RIs should be used when screening.

Keywords: Left ventricular volume; Sighthound; Ventricular arrhythmia.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / epidemiology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Dog Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Dogs
  • Echocardiography / veterinary
  • Female
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology