A 0.5 kg, 5-yr-old male bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) presented with a 2-mo history of lethargy, anorexia, and impaired locomotion. Upon physical examination, bradyarrhythmia (heart rate: 20 beats/min) and balance disorders were noted. Electrocardiography revealed a first-degree atrioventricular block (P-R interval: 360 ms). On echocardiography, all cardiac chambers were slightly above normal ranges. Complete blood count, blood biochemistry, and T4 were unremarkable except for mildly elevated aspartate aminotransferase. Adenovirus testing was negative by polymerase chain reaction. Following euthanasia, necropsy revealed marked thickening of the arterial trunks and histopathology confirmed multifocal atherosclerosis of efferent heart vessels, arteriosclerosis of cerebral arterioles, and multifocal spongiosis of brain tissue, more pronounced in the optic chiasma. Owing to its severity, atherosclerosis may have contributed to chronic arterial hypertension with damages to the heart, brain vessels, and brain tissue-optic chiasma.
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13 June 2019
HYPERTENSIVE HEART DISEASE AND ENCEPHALOPATHY IN A CENTRAL BEARDED DRAGON (POGONA VITTICEPS) WITH SEVERE ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND FIRST-DEGREE ATRIOVENTRICULAR BLOCK
first-degree atrioventricular block