Article Text

Echocardiographic reference ranges for sedentary donkeys in the UK
  1. S. L. Roberts, BVMS, CertVC, MRCVS1 and
  2. J. Dukes-McEwan, BVMS, MVM, PhD, DVC, DipECVIM-CA(Cardiology), MRCVS2
  1. 1SLR Cardiology Referrals, Plumpton Farm, Pecket Well, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 8QU, UK
  2. 2Small Animal Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Chester High Road, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE, UK
  1. Email for Correspondence: J.Dukes-McEwan{at}


The aim of this study was to provide two-dimensional (2D) and M-mode echocardiographic reference ranges from a sample of the UK population of donkeys including geriatrics (>30 years), owned by The Donkey Sanctuary, and to assess the influence of gender, weight and age on these variables. A total of 36 donkeys with no clinical or echocardiographic evidence of cardiovascular disease were examined; 24 geldings and 12 females, aged 3–45 years old, weighing 130–262 kg. Left atrial to aortic ratio was larger in geldings (P=0.004). There was no significant difference for left ventricular M-mode diastolic diameter between females and geldings (P=0.121) after exclusion of one heavy female outlier. 2D measurements significantly increased with bodyweight including maximal left atrial diameter (R2=0.112; P=0.046), aortic diameter at various levels (e.g. annulus: R2=0.35; P<0.001) and the pulmonary artery diameter (R2=0.124; P=0.035). M-mode measurements were not significantly influenced by weight other than the left ventricular free wall in systole (R2=0.118; P=0.041). Age and heart rate did not have any significant effect on echocardiographic variables. This is the first UK study to report on echocardiographic reference ranges of sedentary donkeys across a wide age range and shows differences compared with reference ranges from working donkeys.

  • Donkeys
  • Echocardiography
  • Ultrasonography
  • Cardiology

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