Electrocardiographic reference values for healthy Netherland Dwarf rabbits and the influence of body position, age and gender

J. M. Chapel, C. Castillo, J. Hernández, M. Cipone, J. L. Benedito


The aim of this study was to provide reference values for a single, popular breed of pet rabbit. Moreover, additional objectives were to determine whether sex, body position or age alter Netherland Dwarf rabbit electrocardiographic variables and whether the use of electrocardiographic filters affects those variables. Forty Netherland Dwarf rabbits were examined clinically and standard six-lead electrocardiograms (ECGs) were recorded in sternal and then dorsal recumbency. At first power-line and anti-drift filters were used and then they were disabled. The following variables were measured in lead II: heart rate; P wave duration and amplitude; P-R interval; QRS duration; R wave amplitude (with and without filters); Q-T interval; T wave duration and amplitude; S-T segment; J-T duration; and mean electrical axis (MEA) (with and without filters). MEA was determined by 3 different methods. After statistical processing of the data, our results showed that there were no significant differences between both recumbencies, with the exception of the J-T duration, which was higher in dorsal recumbency. The R wave amplitude using electrocardiographic filters showed significant differences between males (0.083 mV) and females (0.115 mV; P<0.05); and between younger rabbits (0.108 mV) and older rabbits (0.097 mV; P<0.05). These differences were not shown between R waves with filters disabled. Moreover, the strongest correlation was between 2 MEA methods without filters. MEA was more leftward in the pet rabbit than in other species (dog or cats). In conclusion, electrocardiography recording without electrocardiographic filters should be assessed when it is possible, and the specific ECGs characteristics for Netherland Dwarf rabbit should be taken into account.


electrocardiography; heart; filters; mean electrical axis; rabbit

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Journal of Small Animal Practice  vol: 61  issue: 6  first page: 390  year: 2020  
doi: 10.1111/jsap.13140


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011   https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs