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Comparison of the effects of thiopentone and propofol on the electrocardiogram of dogs
  1. S. G. Dennis, BVetMed, MVM, CertVC, MRCVS1,
  2. P. R. Wotton, BVSc, PhD, DVC, MRCVS1,
  3. A. Boswood, MA, VetMB, DVC, DipECVIM-CA, MRCVS2 and
  4. D. Flaherty, BVMS, DVA, DipECVA, MRCA, MRCVS1
  1. 1 Division of Small Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden Road, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 1QH
  2. 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA
  1. Mr Dennis's present address is Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA
  2. Dr Wotton's present address is Davies Veterinary Specialists, Manor Farm Business Park, Higham Gobion, Hitchin SG5 3HR


Sixty-four dogs were randomly assigned to receive either thiopentone or propofol and their electrocardiograms were recorded immediately before and shortly after they were anaesthetised. Thiopentone caused a marked increase in qt and jt intervals, a flattening of the T-wave and an increase in precordial qt dispersion. Propofol induced a less marked increase in qt and jt intervals, corrected for heart rate. Both agents induced an increase in heart rate and a decrease in heart rate variability, consistent with reduced vagal tone. Shortly after anaesthesia was induced, thiopentone affected ventricular repolarisation to a far greater extent than propofol, changes which suggest that it may be more likely to induce re-entrant ventricular arrhythmogenesis and could be associated with an increase in sympathetic tone. Propofol may therefore be more suitable than thiopentone for dogs with a susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias or a long qt interval.

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