Ambulatory electrocardiography and serum cardiac troponin I measurement in 21 dogs envenomated by the European adder (Vipera berus).J Vet Intern Med. 2020 Jul; 34(4):1369-1378.JV
Envenomation by the European adder (Vipera berus) is common in dogs in Europe. Cardiac arrhythmias occur but clinical studies of envenomated dogs are limited.
To describe arrhythmias in dogs within 48 hours of envenomation, and investigate associations between arrhythmia grade, serum troponin I (cTnI), and snakebite severity score (SS score).
Twenty-one client-owned dogs bitten by V berus.
Prospective cohort study of envenomated dogs. Ambulatory electrocardiograms were recorded from presentation to 48 hours after snakebite, and arrhythmias graded 0 to 3 based on frequency and severity. Serum cTnI was measured at presentation, 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, and 14 days after bite. An SS score of 1 to 3 was recorded at admission and based on clinical examination.
All dogs survived. Twelve dogs (57%) developed arrhythmias, all of which were ventricular in origin. Severe complex ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) were observed in 6 dogs (29%). Eighty-one percent of dogs (n = 17) had increased cTnI concentrations at 1 or more time points. Dogs that developed arrhythmias had significantly higher concentrations of cTnI at 12 hours (1.67 [0.04-32.68] versus 0.03 [0.01-0.052]; P = .002), 24 hours (1.88 [0.2-14.23] versus 0.06 [0.01-2.06]; P = .009), and 36 hours (3.7 [0.02-16.62] versus 0.06 [0.01-1.33]; P = .006) after bite compared to those that did not. Contingency table analysis showed that SS score was not significantly associated with arrhythmia grade (P = .9).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE
Myocardial cell injury, reflected by increased cTnI concentrations and VAs, is common after V berus envenomation in dogs. Prolonged electrocardiography monitoring is advised, particularly where cTnI is increased.