Cardiac disease is an important cause of mortality in African wild dogs in human care. Vertebral heart scale (VHS) is a well-documented objective measure of cardiac size and is commonly used in domestic dogs. The VHS of 63 clinically healthy African wild dogs housed in zoological institutions was retrospectively calculated. Using the robust method of reference interval (RI) calculation, the RI for VHS in captive African wild dogs was 9.3–10.8. Echocardiographic measurements from 16 clinically healthy and 2 African wild dogs with preclinical dilated cardiomyopathy are reported. The cardiac biomarkers N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) were measured in a subset of African wild dogs. The median plasma NT-proBNP measurement was 845 pM/L (range 366–1,388) and the median serum cTnI measurement was 0.02 ng/ml (0.01–0.04). These data can be used for the assessment and identification of cardiac disease in this endangered species.
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