Two-dimensional echocardiography was performed on 18 unanesthetized, normal dogs (4.5 to 30 kg). Measurements of wall thickness, intracavitary dimensions, and cross-sectional area of the left atrium, left ventricle, and aorta were made. Satisfactory data were obtained from 17 dogs, and were used to determine normal values. Normal data were tested for significant correlation to body weight (kg) by linear regression. Repeatability was studied in six dogs examined, on three separate occasions, during a 5-day period. Differences between values obtained on different days were evaluated by analysis of variance.
Satisfactory qualitative echocardiograms were repeatedly obtained by using consistent sites of transducer placement and by identifying internal cardiac structures. These tomographic planes were highly reproducible, with only ventricular length, and some views of the ventricular septum, showing statistically significant (P < 0.05) differences. Almost all linear and area measurements were significantly correlated to body size, while most indices of left ventricular function were independent of body weight. Dimensions obtained from the left and right parasternal position were nearly identical. Cross-sectional echocardiography allows repeatable assessment of cardiac anatomy, and it should prove useful for identification and quantitation of heart disease in the dog.