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Determination of electrocardiographic parameters in healthy llamas and alpacas

Marc S. KrausDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Clay A. CalvertDepartment of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Alan W. SpierDepartment of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Kathryn M. MeursDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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David E. AndersonDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine electrocardiographic parameters in healthy llamas and alpacas.

Animals—23 llamas and 12 alpacas.

Procedure—Electrocardiography was performed in nonsedated standing llamas and alpacas by use of multiple simultaneous lead recording (bipolar limb, unipolar augmented limb, and unipolar precordial leads).

Results—Common features of ECGs of llamas and alpacas included low voltage of QRS complexes, variable morphology of QRS complexes among camelids, and mean depolarization vectors (mean electrical axes) that were directed dorsocranially and to the right. Durations of the QT interval and ST segment were negatively correlated with heart rate.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—ECGs of acceptable quality can be consistently recorded in nonsedated standing llamas and alpacas. Features of ECGs in llamas and alpacas are similar to those of other ruminants. Changes in the morphology of the QRS complexes and mean electrical axis are unlikely to be sensitive indicators of ventricular enlargement in llamas and alpacas. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1719–1723)

Abstract

Objective—To determine electrocardiographic parameters in healthy llamas and alpacas.

Animals—23 llamas and 12 alpacas.

Procedure—Electrocardiography was performed in nonsedated standing llamas and alpacas by use of multiple simultaneous lead recording (bipolar limb, unipolar augmented limb, and unipolar precordial leads).

Results—Common features of ECGs of llamas and alpacas included low voltage of QRS complexes, variable morphology of QRS complexes among camelids, and mean depolarization vectors (mean electrical axes) that were directed dorsocranially and to the right. Durations of the QT interval and ST segment were negatively correlated with heart rate.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—ECGs of acceptable quality can be consistently recorded in nonsedated standing llamas and alpacas. Features of ECGs in llamas and alpacas are similar to those of other ruminants. Changes in the morphology of the QRS complexes and mean electrical axis are unlikely to be sensitive indicators of ventricular enlargement in llamas and alpacas. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1719–1723)