Objectives: To objectively and subjectively describe the normal spectrum of two-dimensional echocardiographic findings in the central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Animals: Sixteen central bearded dragons. Methods: Central bearded dragons were prospectively evaluated under manual restraint in right and left lateral recumbency to identify imaging planes for reproducible measurements of cardiac chambers, subjective two-dimensional analysis and color Doppler assessment. Results: Echocardiography can be performed through windows in the left and right axillae. The window in the left axilla allows for a subjective and objective assessment of cardiac structure and function. The right axillary window allows for evaluation of pulmonary artery flow. Both views provide data for the presence of pericardial effusion or valvular insufficiency. With optimized imaging planes, cardiac chambers and fractional area change along with fractional shortening in the longitudinal and transverse planes can be calculated. Body weight and cardiac chamber dimensions of males were significantly larger than females. Ventricular fractional area change was the most consistent functional assessment. The majority of animals were found to have no evidence of valvular insufficiency, while approximately half had evidence of pericardial fluid. Pulmonary artery flow was assessed in all patients. Left and right aortic velocities cannot be reliably obtained. Conclusions: This study is the first to generate reference values for cardiac structure and function in clinically healthy central bearded dragons. Valvular insufficiency is not a normal finding in central bearded dragons, while mild pericardial effusion may be.
- Cardiac ultrasound
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