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DISTURBANCES related to the pericardium have been increasingly observed in routine clinical examinations carried out on domestic animals. In dogs, pericardial effusion is commonly associated with neoplasia or idiopathic pericarditis (Stafford Johnson and others 2004). The primary pathophysiological abnormality of cardiac tamponade is an increase in intrapericardial pressure, which impairs ventricular diastolic filling, inevitably resulting in a lower stroke volume (Spodick 1998).
Although echocardiography is the best method for diagnosis of pericardial effusion, the presence of fluid in the pericardium does not by itself define cardiac tamponade (Boon 1998). Duplex Doppler ultrasonography (DDU) is a non-invasive method that can estimate both quantitative and qualitative measures to evaluate peripheral blood flow disorders in animals (Fernández del Palacio and others 2003, Lee and others 2004, Nogueira and others 2011). However, there is no description in the literature regarding the applicability of this technique in the assessment of peripheral arterial circulation in dogs with pericardial tamponade. This short communication reports clinical cases in which DDU was used as a supplementary method of diagnosing pericardial tamponade in dogs.
Three boxer dogs (two females and one male) and a German shepherd dog (male), ranging from eight to 10 years of age, were studied. In all the animals, the main clinical signs were lethargy and exercise intolerance. Muffled heart sounds and a weak femoral pulse were observed in all the dogs. Mild anaemia, with signs of regeneration, was observed in the whole blood cell count. In the ECG records, a typical sinus rhythm was observed in all the dogs. Low R wave amplitude was found in …