Evaluation of respiratory function by barometric whole-body plethysmography in healthy dogs.

Research paper by Jesús J Talavera, Nathalie N Kirschvink, Simone S Schuller, Alain Le AL Garrérès, Pascal P Gustin, Johanne J Detilleux, Cécile C Clercx

Indexed on: 06 Jul '05Published on: 06 Jul '05Published in: The Veterinary Journal


The objective of the present study was to assess the validity of barometric whole-body plethysmography (BWBP), to establish reference values, and to standardise a bronchoprovocative test to investigate airway responsiveness using BWBP in healthy dogs. BWBP measurements were obtained from six healthy beagle dogs using different protocols: (1) during three consecutive periods (3.5min each) in two morning and two evening sessions; (2) before and after administration of two protocols of sedation; (3) before and after nebulisation of saline and increasing concentrations of carbachol and histamine both in conscious dogs and in dogs under both protocols of sedation. Enhanced pause (PENH) was used as index of bronchoconstriction. Basal BWBP measurements were also obtained in 22 healthy dogs of different breeds, age and weight. No significant influence of either time spent in the chamber or daytime was found for most respiratory variables but a significant dog effect was detected for most variables. A significant body weight effect was found on tidal volume and peak flow values (P<0.05). Response to carbachol was not reproducible and always associated with side effects. Nebulisation of histamine induced a significant increase in respiratory rate, peak expiratory flow, peak expiratory flow/peak inspiratory flow ratio and PENH (P<0.05). The response was reproduced in each dog at different concentrations of histamine. Sedation with acepromazine+buprenorphine had little influence on basal measurements and did not change the results of histamine challenge. It was concluded that BWBP is a safe, non invasive and reliable technique of investigation of lung function in dogs which provides new opportunities to characterise respiratory status, to evaluate airway hyperresponsiveness and to assess therapeutic interventions.