Elasmobranch cardiac anatomy and physiology has been well described; however, there is a dearth of information regarding cardiac disease. In support of a clinical case of suspected congestive heart failure in a 22-yr-old male sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus), a study was undertaken to identify feasible echocardiographic imaging planes and preliminary indices for this species. Eleven echocardiograms were performed on six apparently healthy sand tiger sharks. Echocardiographic parameters are presented using descriptive statistics, including mean, median, standard deviation (SD), minimum and maximum values. These data were utilized for the diagnosis and clinical management of the affected shark. The shark initially presented with increased respiratory effort, dependent, peripheral edema, and anemia. Echocardiography revealed atrial, ventricular, and sinus venosus dilation. As congestive heart failure secondary to dilated cardiomyopathy was strongly suspected, therapy was initiated with oral benazepril and torsemide, and later pimobendan. After a year of therapy, clinical signs resolved. Cardiac size and function improved on echocardiography with a reduction in sinus venosus dilation, maximum and minimum atrial and ventricular inner diameters, and an increase in atrial and ventricular fractional shortening. Cardiac disease in elasmobranchs may be underdiagnosed, so it may be necessary to develop standardized ultrasound techniques and cardiac measurements for each species of elasmobranch managed within zoos and aquaria.
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16 June 2022
DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT OF SUSPECTED CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE SECONDARY TO DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY IN A SAND TIGER SHARK (CARCHARIAS TAURUS) WITH ESTABLISHMENT OF PRELIMINARY NORMAL ECHOCARDIOGRAPHIC INDICES
Michael W. Hyatt,
Trevor J. Gerlach