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Vet J. 2016 Jan;207:164-168. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2015.08.017. Epub 2015 Aug 17.

Sleeping and resting respiratory rates in dogs and cats with medically-controlled left-sided congestive heart failure.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Perugia, Via San Costanzo 4, Perugia 06126, Italy.
Veterinary Information Network, 777 West Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Ulls väg 14 C, SE-756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.
CVS Referrals, Lumbry Park Veterinary Specialists, Alton, Hampshire, UK.
Department of Clinical Sciences, The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Sleeping and resting respiratory rates (SRR and RRR, respectively) are commonly used to monitor dogs and cats with left-sided cardiac disease and to identify animals with left-sided congestive heart failure (L-CHF). Dogs and cats with subclinical heart disease have SRRmean values <30 breaths/min. However, little is known about SRR and RRR in dogs and cats with CHF that is well controlled with medical therapy. In this study, SRR and RRR were measured by the owners of 51 dogs and 22 cats with stable, well-controlled CHF. Median canine SRRmean was 20 breaths/min (7-39 breaths/min); eight dogs were ≥25 breaths/min and one dog only was ≥30 breaths/min. Canine SRRmean was unrelated to pulmonary hypertension or diuretic dose. Median feline SRRmean was 20 breaths/min (13-31 breaths/min); four cats were ≥25 breaths/min and only one cat was ≥30 breaths/min. Feline SRRmean was unrelated to diuretic dose. SRR remained stable during collection in both species with little day-to-day variability. The median canine RRRmean was 24 breaths/min (12-44 breaths/min), 17 were ≥25 breaths/min, seven were ≥30 breaths/min, two were >40 breaths/min. Median feline RRRmean was 24 breaths/min (15-45 breaths/min); five cats had RRRmean ≥25 breaths/min; one had ≥30 breaths/min, and two had ≥40 breaths/min. These data suggest that most dogs and cats with CHF that is medically well-controlled and stable have SRRmean and RRRmean <30 breaths/min at home. Clinicians can use these data to help determine how best to control CHF in dogs and cats.


Canine; Congestive heart failure; Diuretic; Feline; Respiratory rate

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