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Lab Anim. 2006 Apr;40(2):123-36.

The electrocardiogram of the Beagle dog: reference values and effect of sex, genetic strain, body position and heart rate.

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  • 1Department of Toxicology and Comparative Medicine, Pfizer Global Research and Development, Amboise, France.


The aim of the study was to establish a database for electrocardiographic parameters of Beagle dogs used for toxicological studies and to evaluate the influence of supplier, sex, heart rate (HR) and body position for electrocardiogram (ECG) recording on ECG parameters. Peripheral ECG leads were recorded from 934 female and 946 male dogs from Marshall Farms and 27 females and 30 males from Harlan, either standing on a table or restrained in a hammock. HR, RR, PQ and QT intervals, P and QRS duration and P-wave amplitude were measured. There were no major differences between sexes for ECG parameters. The axis of the heart was shifted to the left when the animals were restrained in a hammock compared to when they were standing on a table. The PQ interval was higher (about 9%) in Harlan than in Marshall dogs. HR was negatively correlated with QT (coefficient of linear correlation: r=-0.61 to -0.74), which emphasizes the need for a formula correcting QT interval for HR when interpreting changes in QT interval. HR was also negatively correlated with PQ intervals (r=-0.26 to -0.11), whereas a positive correlation was found between HR and the amplitude of the P wave (r=0.21-0.34). The level of the respiratory sinus arrhythmia (SA) was quantified by calculating the ratio of maximum to minimum RR interval measured over a 10 s period. This ratio was negatively correlated with HR (r =-0.49 to -0.33). Therefore, at high HRs, SA was less marked than at low HRs, but it did not completely disappear. Analysis of beat-to-beat variation indicated that QT and PQ intervals and the amplitude of P wave fluctuated over time and the degree of this variability was positively correlated with the level of SA. In conclusion, we have established reference values for the duration and/or amplitude of some ECG parameters both in terms of means and variability over the recording period, and we have evaluated the influence of body position, genetic strain and HR on the ECG parameters. These data can be used as baseline for the interpretation of the ECG of Beagle dogs.

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