Information about antemortem cardiac evaluation in sea otters (Enhydra lutris) is limited, despite well-established clinical care and rehabilitation procedures and a reported elevated risk of cardiac disease for this species. Serum cardiac troponin I (cTnI) concentration and echocardiographic assessment are two ways of screening for and diagnosing cardiac disease. However, no baseline data or reference intervals for either evaluation are published for sea otters. The objectives of this prospective study were to establish serum cTnI concentrations and echocardiographic technique and quantitative measurements in anesthetized healthy female southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) (n=15). Serum cTnI values were assessed by a high-sensitivity assay. Serum cTnI concentration ranged from <0.006 to 0.038 ng/ml. A complete echocardiogram, including two-dimensional and M-mode modalities, was performed. Echocardiographic measurements for left atrial size, aorta size, left ventricular structure, and left ventricular function were reported. The median left atrial size to aorta ratio was 1.22 (range 0.80–1.59) in short-axis and 1.70 (range 1.39–2.15) in long-axis. The median left ventricular internal dimension was 3.53 cm (range 2.87–4.92 cm) when assessed in two dimensions and 3.58 cm (range 2.80–4.48 cm) by M-mode. Serum concentrations of cTnI and transthoracic echocardiography may represent valuable tools for the antemortem diagnosis of cardiac disease in sea otters.
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