Med. Weter. 79 (12), 618-625, 2023

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Prevalence of subclinical heart disease in apparently healthy American Staffordshire Terriers
The American Staffordshire Terrier (AST) is a breed characterized by a specific body build and high activity. The predisposition of the AST to cardiovascular diseases has not been investigated thoroughly yet. The study population consisted of 88 adult dogs showing no signs of cardiovascular diseases. The tested dogs were of different gender, age and body weight. Systolic blood pressure, clinical examination, echocardiography, electrocardiography, thoracic radiograph were performed in each dog, additionally, the blood was taken for laboratory tests. Subclinical heart disease was found in 67% of the tested dogs. Diseases of atrioventricular valves were most prevalent, significantly more common than aortic and pulmonary valve diseases. The most common subclinical heart disease was mitral valve regurgitation. A large part of the examined dogs had accelerated LVOT and RVOT in relation to the reference values adopted for the general canine population. The subclinical heart diseases are common in the Polish population of adult AST. Detection of the heart murmur in auscultation, respiratory sinus arrythmia in ECG, qR pattern of the QRS complex in ECG, PQ ≥ 0.11s, and LA/Ao ≥ 1.4 in an asymptomatic adult AST is suggestive of the subclinical heart disease and is an indication for a complete echocardiographic examination. Performing cardiac screening tests in adult AST dogs enables the elimination of sick individuals from breeding. Full echocardiographic examination including Doppler technique is a mainstay of the cardiologic diagnostics in modern veterinary medicine. It is the only method that allows the diagnosis of subclinical heart diseases.
Keywords: cardiology, dogs, cardiovascular diseases