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Echocardiographic assessment of cardiac structure and function in great apes: a practical guide



Cardiac disease has been implicated as a leading cause of death in captive great apes. Trans-thoracic echocardiography provides clinically relevant information that may help differentiate between the myriad of different heart diseases and disorders, guide treatment and aid the management of great apes with underlying cardiac pathology. The purpose of this paper is to provide an outline of the procedures and methodologies required to conduct a thorough trans-thoracic echocardiogram of great apes under general anaesthesia. Basic logistical considerations are discussed before a detailed description of the procedures required for the assessment of overall cardiac structure and function. Using a thorough systematic approach, it is our belief that veterinary professionals may be better able to diagnose, treat and manage captive great apes with, or at risk of developing heart disease.