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Objective—To determine whether dobutamine stress tests (DST) can be used to detect cardiac dysfunction in dogs with early left ventricular dysfunction (ELVD) induced by rapid right ventricular pacing (RRVP).

Animals—7 adult male Beagles.

Procedure—A pacemaker was surgically implanted in each dog at the level of the right ventricular apex. Electrocardiography, Doppler sphygmomanometry, and Doppler echocardiography were performed before and during a DST prior to activation of the pacemaker and every 3 to 4 days during the period of RRVP. Dobutamine stress tests were performed by infusing dobutamine at incremental dosages ranging from 12.5 to 42.5 µg/kg of body weight/min.

Results—Clinical signs of congestive heart failure were not observed during the pacing period. However, all dogs developed ELVD associated with significant changes in values for most Doppler echocardiographic variables obtained prior to DST. Adverse cardiac effects were not detected during DST. Most Doppler echocardiographic indices of cardiac function were significantly altered in response to dobutamine infusion during the pacing period, compared with prepacing values. However, a dobutamine-induced 2-fold increase in cardiac output was maintained.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dobutamine stress tests can be safely performed in dogs with experimentally induced ELVD. Dobutamine stress tests may be a sensitive, noninvasive diagnostic method, complementary to standard clinical examinations, for detection of early cardiac dysfunction in dogs asymptomatic for dilated cardiomyopathy. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:448–455)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To assess morphologic and metabolic abnormalities in dogs with early left ventricular dysfunction (ELVD) induced by rapid right ventricular pacing (RRVP).

Animals—7 Beagles.

Procedure—Plasma carnitine concentrations were measured before and after development of ELVD induced by RRVP. At the same times, transvenous endomyocardial biopsy was performed, and specimens were submitted for determination of myocardial carnitine concentrations and histologic, morphometric, and ultrastructural examination.

Results—In 4 dogs in which baseline plasma total carnitine concentration was normal, RRVP induced a decrease in myocardial total and free carnitine concentrations and an increase in myocardial esterified carnitine concentration. In 3 dogs in which baseline plasma total carnitine concentration was low, plasma and myocardial carnitine concentrations were unchanged after pacing. Structural changes associated with pacing included perinuclear vacuolization in 3 dogs. Morphometric analyses indicated there was a decrease in myofiber cross-sectional diameter and area following pacing. Electron microscopy revealed changes in myofibrils and mitochondria following pacing.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that moderate to severe alterations in myocyte cytoarchitecture are present in dogs with ELVD induced by RRVP and that in dogs with normal plasma carnitine concentrations, myocardial carnitine deficiency may be a biochemical marker of ELVD. Results also indicated that transvenous endomyocardial biopsy can be used to evaluate biochemical and structural myocardial changes in dogs with cardiac disease. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:889–894)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



Evaluate the short-term effects of acupuncture on the dynamic manifestations of axial stiffness in steeplechase racehorses.


12 steeplechase racehorses presenting signs of axial stiffness during training.


Horses were randomly assigned to either an acupuncture treatment by an experienced certified acupuncturist (n = 6) or no treatment as negative controls (6). The horses’ locomotion was evaluated during training before treatment (D0) and 7 (D7) and 14 (D14) days after by their rider and trainer through a questionnaire. Additionally, the improvement of their dorsal flexibility 2 days after treatment was evaluated subjectively at the trot, free jumping at the canter was evaluated by expert clinicians, and free jumping at the trot was evaluated objectively via inertial measurement units.


Significantly more horses were improved on D7 and D14 in the acupuncture group (6/6) compared with the control group (1/5; P =.01) according to the scores set by the trainer and riders. Subjective evaluation of the dorsal flexibility also revealed a significant improvement (P = .04) for horses receiving the acupuncture treatment (median improvement score, 0.50 [reference range, 0.5 to 0.9]) compared with control horses (–0.25 [reference range, –0.5 to 0]).


Acupuncture may be an interesting nondoping strategy to improve clinical signs of axial stiffness and performance on steeplechase racehorses.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association