One hundred acutely traumatized dogs were evaluated for the presence of cardiopulmonary abnormalities with thoracic radiographs, electrocardiography and arterial blood gas analysis. Fifty-seven dogs were found to have concurrent appendicular fracture(s) and thoracic injury as defined by an abnormality in one or more of the variables evaluated. Thoracic radiographs were abnormal in 44 dogs. Ventricular arrhythmias were identified in 17 dogs. Hypoxemia (PaO2 < 80 mmHg) was detected in 25 dogs. Hypoxemia was noted with increased frequency in dogs with abnormal thoracic radiographs. Ventricular arrhythmias occurred more frequently in the hypoxemic group of dogs.
Although a relationship was noted between the presence of hypoxemia, radiographic changes of the thorax and ECG abnormalities, all three examinations provided important information for assessing the cardiopulmonary status of each patient.