Dilated cardiomyopathy is a relatively common pathology in captive flying foxes (Pteropus spp.). The goal of this study was to establish quantitative reference range measurements that could be used to support a diagnosis of cardiac disease in these animals. Lateral and ventrodorsal thoracic radiographs from apparently healthy flying foxes (n = 66) of three species (Rodriguez island flying fox, P. rodricensis, n = 18; small island flying fox, P. hypomelanus, n = 16; and Malaysian flying fox, P. vampyrus, n = 32) were evaluated objectively to describe the cardiac appearance. Absolute and relative cardiac dimensions also were measured. The same methods were used to evaluate radiographs from flying foxes (n = 9) with known dilated or acute cardiomyopathy. The following ratios were most appropriate for categorizing normal cardiac silhouette size. In the ventrodorsal projection, heart width to thoracic width and heart width to clavicle length were the preferred measurements. In the lateral projection, heart width compared with thoracic height was the preferred measurement. From radiographs of the bats with known dilated and acute cardiomyopathy, the apicobasilar heart length compared with thoracic height and heart width compared with thoracic height on lateral films were the most sensitive ratios for diagnosing cardiomegaly.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2