Twenty-seven healthy captive lions (Panthera leo) and 13 healthy captive tigers (Panthera tigris) from São Paulo Zoo (Fundação Parque Zoológico de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil) collection were selected for this study. They were anesthetized with ketamine (10 mg/kg) combined with xylazine (1–2 mg/kg) for physical examinations, hematologic and serum chemical analysis and electrocardiogram recording. The main aim of this research was to gather initial information about normal electrocardiographic parameters of large felids. Standard P-QRS-T deflections on leads described for domestic carnivores were analyzed, and they did not greatly differ from those of large felids, taking into account the greater weight and corporal mass of large felids. Heart rate of lions ranged from 42 to 76 beats per minute (bpm). Heart rate of tigers ranged from 56 to 97 bpm. In both species, the most common rhythm detected was normal sinus rhythm followed by sinus arrhythmia; wandering pacemaker was also observed with normal sinus rhythm or sinus arrhythmia. Mean electrical axis lay between 60° and 120°. QRS complexes were predominantly positive in leads DI, DII, DIII, and AVF, and negative in AVR and AVL. This study provides insights into normal electrocardiograms of large felids. Wider investigations on the same subject are necessary to establish criteria for the recognition of abnormalities in these species and should include other anesthetic drug(s) combinations and reports of electrocardiographic features of animals with cardiac disease and electrolytes disturbances.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3