Preliminary assessment of vertebral heart score of the Nigerian mongrel dog

  • A Olatunji-Akioye
  • B Alabi
Keywords: Vertebral Heart Score, Radiography, Right Lateral view, Mongrel dogs


Vertebral Heart Score is a reliable method of determining cardiac size changes because it is able to assess cardiac enlargement. The canine heart has considerable breed variation than any other organ. It is assessed by a measurement of the cardiac silhouette by involving its long axis taken from the left main stem bronchus ventral border to the cardiac apex and short axis taken from central third region of the heart perpendicular to the longitudinal axis with a measuring scale on a lateral radiograph against the length of the vertebral column beginning from the fourth thoracic vertebra. Six Nigerian Mongrel Dogs (NMD) comprising 2 males and 4 females of about a year old weighing 14 ± 2.3kg were used for this study. Right lateral radiographs were taken and the measurements of long and short axes were taken and compared with thoracic vertebrae to calculate the VHS. A mean VHS value of 9.6 ± 0.8 was determined. The mean VHS value of the male which represented 33.3% was 10.35 while that of female which represented 66.7% was 9.2. The VHS value for clinically healthy NMD was found to be 9.6 ± 0.8 which is slightly below the VHS average for dogs in the same medium weight class such as the Poodle, Cocker Spaniel and Bull dog and this may be due to differences in weight within the medium range weight among breeds or a sedentary existence of most of these dogs. This VHS value will be useful for determining cardiac enlargement specifically within this breed of dogs.

Keywords: Vertebral Heart Score, Radiography, Right Lateral view, Mongrel dogs


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eISSN: 0331-3026