Evaluation of Two Anatomic Locations for Measurement of Indirect Blood Pressure in Anesthetized African Lions (Panthera leo)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2006
Lauren Howard1,†, DVM, DACZM; Meredith Bashaw2,‡, PhD; Nadine Lamberski1, DVM, DACZM; Jeff Zuba1, DVM; Mark Greenberg3, MD; Don Janssen1, DVM, DACZM
1San Diego Wild Animal Park, Escondido, CA, USA; 2Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species, Escondido, CA, USA; 3Pediatrics and Anesthesiology, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA; †Current address: Houston Zoo, Inc, Houston, TX, USA; ‡Current address: Department of Psychology, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA


Indirect measurement of arterial blood pressure is being used increasingly in small animal practice and has potential for use in both anesthetized and conscious large zoo felids. Routine measurement of blood pressure in zoo felids may result in earlier detection of blood pressure abnormalities such as hypertension. This study was conducted on six sub-adult African lions (Panthera leo) to compare indirect oscillometric blood pressure measurement (NIBP) to invasive blood pressure measurement (IBP). Three male and three female lions with an average weight of 56 kg were anesthetized with a combination of medetomidine and either ketamine or tiletamine/zolazepam. A catheter was placed in the pedal or femoral artery to measure IBP in each lion. Oscillometric cuffs were placed around the base of the tail and around the front leg above the elbow to measure NIBP. Timed measurements from both NIBP cuffs were compared to the IBP measurement in each lion. When compared to IBP, NIBP measured oscillometrically on the front leg accurately reflected systolic arterial blood pressure (SAP) and diastolic blood pressure (DAP), but significantly overestimated mean arterial pressure (MAP). Compared to IBP, NIBP measured oscillometrically on the base of the tail reflected SAP relatively accurately, but underestimated DAP and MAP. Although further investigation is required, based on the findings of this study, measurement of systolic blood pressure using an oscillometric cuff around the front leg above the elbow or tail base appears to be a reasonably accurate method of monitoring blood pressure in lions.


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Lauren Howard, DVM, DACZM
Houston Zoo, Inc.
Houston, TX, USA

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