Article Text

Non-invasive measurement of the cardiovascular effects of chronic hypoxaemia on dogs living at moderately high altitude
  1. T. M. Glaus, DrMedVet, DipACVIM, DipECVIM-CA1,
  2. K. Hauser, DrMedVet1,
  3. M. Hassig, DrMedVetHabil, MPH2,
  4. B. Lipp3 and
  5. C. E. Reusch, DrMedVetHabil, DipECVIM-CA4
  1. 1 Division of Cardiology
  2. 2 Division of Herd Health, Department of Reproduction
  3. 3 Jungfrau Trains Top of Europe, Grindelwald, Switzerland
  4. 4 Clinic for Small Animal Internal Medicine, University of Zurich, Wmterthurerstrasse 260, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland


Pulmonary hypertension is a well-recognised condition in dogs, and, among other mechanisms, is caused by hypoxia. In order to evaluate the effect of chronic hypobaric hypoxia on pulmonary arterial pressure in dogs, a colony of 19 clinically and biochemically healthy Greenland sled dogs living permanently at at least 2300 m above sea level (altitude dogs) and 10 clinically healthy Greenland sled dogs living at 700 to 900 m above sea level (control dogs) were examined. Investigations were made of the dogs' packed-cell volume, venous and arterial blood gases, electrocardiogram, blood pressure and echocardiograph, including the calculation of pulmonary arterial pressure by Doppler examination of tricuspid regurgitation. The altitude dogs had a marked arterial hypoxaemia with a mean (sd) oxygen partial pressure of 61.9 (7.4) mmHg and a significantly lower arterial oxygen saturation (90.7 [3.7] per cent) than the control dogs (96.7 [0.8] per cent). In eight of the altitude dogs, tricuspid regurgitation allowed calculation of the systolic pulmonary arterial pressure, which was 29.5 (10.4) mmHg. Eight of the control dogs had tricuspid insufficiency, and their derived systolic pulmonary arterial pressure was significantly lower (17.4 [3.9] mmHg).

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