The Thai Journal of Veterinary Medicine


Thoracic radiography is the most common first modality for heart size evaluation and confirming cardiogenic pulmonary edema in cats with suspected heart diseases. The Vertebral Heart Score (VHS) was established as an objective methodfor diagnosing cardiomegaly via thoracic radiography. However, the conventional VHS method is inappropriate for cats with abnormal thoracic vertebrae.Therefore, the applied VHSmethod, which uses the lateral view axis sum divided with the length of each thoracic vertebra (T4, T5 and T6) was created to minimize the limitation of VHS in these cases. This study compared the conventional and the applied VHS methods in healthy Thai domestic shorthair catsto evaluate the heart size of cats with abnormal thoracic vertebrae or improper thoracic vertebral alignment.Right lateral (RL) and left lateral (LL) radiographs were taken of 97 clinically healthy adult Thai domestic shorthair cats, andtheVHS was measured on both RL and LL views. Applied VHSwas calculated by using the summationof cardiac long and short axis divided by the length of each thoracic vertebra (T4, T5 and T6). Themean±SD values of VHS were 7.2 ± 0.45 v. (LL) and 7.43 ± 0.44 v.(RL). The mean±SD of applied VHS of T4, T5 and T6 in LL view axis were 7.17 ± 0.48 v, 7.11± 0.47 v and 7.03 ± 0.47 v respectively, while the mean±SD of applied VHS of T4, T5 and T6 in RL view were 7.43 ± 0.47 v, 7.38 ± 0.46 v and 7.29 ± 0.47 v respectively. No statistical difference between the mean of conventionalVHS compared to the mean of applied VHS for both LL and RL view were found from ANOVA testing. Results indicated that differences between conventional VHS and applied VHS of both LL and RL view axes were not significant. Therefore, applied VHS methods might provide increased accuracy for evaluation of heart size in cats with abnormal thoracic vertebrae. However, suitabilityof the applied VHS methods in different cat breeds requires further investigation.

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