Cranial Arterial Patterning in Greyhounds: Another Case of Internal Intraspecific Variation

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The greyhound is a dog breed highly specialized to run fast (17 m/s) over short distances (Usherwood and Wilson, 2005). As a result, there are many anatomical structures correlated with this sprinting function. The branching patterns of vasculature supplying blood to the head, forelimbs and thorax (subclavian arteries and its branches) were described in 34 adult greyhound cadavers (22 male, 12 female) (donated with owner consent and used under a memorandum of understanding with the University of Adelaide Animal Ethics Committee) from silicone casts of the arch of the aorta and the cranial arteries. Chi-squared analysis was used to test for pattern frequency differences, and t-tests were used to analyse the differences between sex and symmetry. All measurements were scaled to a fixed measure, the Open Thorax Length (OTL), to correct for size variation between individuals. Significant differences were found between the left and right subclavian arteries in the greyhound. The length to the first branch as a percentage of the OTL was greater in the right subclavian artery than the left subclavian artery (P < 0.001). The interval between the first and last branches (branching interval) as a percentage of the OTL was larger in the left subclavian artery than the right subclavian artery (P < 0.001). The reason for these differences remains unclear. Nonetheless, intraspecific variations of the branching patterns of the subclavian arteries have been described in the greyhound, thus suggesting that breed-specific variations in the cardiovascular system are likely to occur throughout domestic dogs.

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