Determination of Normal Echocardiographic, Electrocardiographic, and Radiographic Cardiac Parameters in the Conscious New Zealand White Rabbit

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An accurate diagnosis of cardiac disease requires knowledge of normal heart parameters. In total, 100 clinically healthy, unsedated New Zealand white rabbits were studied to establish well-tolerated and repeatable techniques for echocardiography (echo) and electrocardiography. In total, 50 thoracic radiographs were obtained to establish normal cardiac parameters. Electrocardiographic complexes were used to measure heart rate, rhythm, amplitude, and duration of the wave components. Cardiac structures and systolic and diastolic functions were evaluated using echo. Thoracic digital radiographs were obtained with standard radiographic techniques. A subjective analysis of the cardiac silhouette was done as well as objective measurements using the vertebral heart score. These normal values will assist in the diagnosis of cardiac disease in rabbits.

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