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Open Access Research article

Reliability of quantitative echocardiography in adult sheep and goats

Gayle D Hallowell1*, Timothy J Potter2 and I Mark Bowen1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK

2 Westpoint Veterinary Group, Dawes Farm, Bognor Road, Warnham, West Sussex, RH12 3SH, UK

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BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:181  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-181

Published: 27 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Echocardiography is a non-invasive method for assessment of the ovine and caprine heart. Complete reference ranges for cardiac dimensions and time indices for both species are not currently available and reliability of these measurements has not been evaluated. The objectives for this study are to report reliability, normal cardiac dimensions and time indices in a large group of adult sheep and goats.

Fifty-one adult sheep and forty adult goats were recruited. Full echocardiographic examinations were performed in the standing unsedated animal. All animals underwent echocardiography four times in a 72-hour period. Echocardiography was performed three times by one author and once by another. Images were stored and measured offline. Technique and measurement repeatability and reproducibility and any differences due to animal or day were evaluated. Reference ranges (mean ± 2 standard deviations) were calculated for both species.

Results

Majority of the images obtained were of good to excellent quality. Image acquisition was straightforward with 5.4% of animals demonstrating a small scanning window. Reliability was excellent for majority of dimensions and time indices. There was less variation in repeatability when compared with reproducibility and differences were greater for technique than for measurements. Dimensions that were less reliable included those for right ventricular diameter and left ventricular free wall. There were many differences in cardiac dimensions between sheep and goats.

Conclusions

This study has demonstrated that specific reference ranges are required for these two species. Repeatability and reproducibility were excellent for the majority of cardiac dimensions and time indices suggesting that this technique is reliable and valuable for examination of clinical cases over time and for longitudinal research studies.

Keywords:
Ovine; Caprine; Cardiac; Heart; Measurements; Ultrasonography