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Electrocardiographic Studies in Holstein Crossbred calves.


During recent years electrocardiography, a noninvasive diagnostic tool is being increasingly used to monitor cardiac rhythm, rate, conduction disturbances and heart size in man, dog, cat and rabbits etc. Because of differences in distribution of purkinjees fibers in myocardium of ruminants, evaluation of heart size through electrocardiography is not feasible in cattle and buffaloes. Nevertheless, electrocardiogram is of immense value in characterizing arrhythmias and conduction disturbances in ruminants also. In ruminants, base-apex lead system is generally advocated for recording electrocardiogram for better complexes than hex-axial lead system (Rezhakani et al, 2004 and Varshney et al., 2013). Barring aside a few sporadic reports of small number of observations, studies on normal electrocardiogram of sizable number of observations are scarce in Holstein crossbred calves in India. The present study was undertaken to create a base line data for Holstein crossbred calves employing base-apex lead system.

Material and Methods

Twenty nine clinically healthy Holstein crossbred male calves of varying age (4-6 months) and weights (35.0-86.0 kg) were employed in the present study. These calves were being fed on straw. Before subjecting them to electrocardiography, they were dewormed and acclimatized for 4-5 days in sheds. The calves were kept in standing position on a rubber mat and sites for applying alligator clips were prepared by shaving and cleaning with alcohol. Gel was applied liberally on the areas of attachment of electrodes. Electrocardiograms were recorded on these calves in calm and quite surroundings using Magic RX (a) electrocardiographic machine at a paper speed of 25 mm per second and amplitude of 1 mV per 10 mm.

Base-Apex Lead system as recommended by Radostits et al. (2000) was used wherein the right arm electrode was attached to neck in the left jugular furrow two third down in neck, left arm electrode was placed over the apex of the heart just behind left elbow and earth electrode (right hind leg electrode) was attached at wither (Fig.1).

ECG recordings were analysed for amplitudes and duration of 'P', 'QRS" and T waves; P-R interval, ST segment and Q-T interval and heart rate. The data was subjected to statistical analysis using excel programme (website

Results and Discussion

Electrocardiography is an important tool employed to evaluate cardiac functioning related to its rate, rhythm and conduction. It has also helped in diagnosis of tetralogy of Fallot in a Holstein calf (Mendes et al., 1999). As compared to dogs and cats, electrocardiographic studies in ruminants are few. Attempts have been made to study electrocardiographic indices of Jersey (Upadhyay et al., 1976) and Holstein (Mendes et al., 2001). In India, crossbreeding programme has given birth to different crossbreds. Therefore the present study was conducted on twenty nine clinically healthy Holstein crossbred calves to create base line data on electrocardiographic parameters employing base-apex lead system. The measurements of different wave forms in lead I in base-apex lead system were taken for analysis because the complexes were largest in lead I. Results of the study are presented in Table 1. Heart rate varied from 60 to 140 bpm with mean of 85.2 [+ or -]4.23 and median of 80.0.The mean heart rate in present study was less than values reported for Holstein calves upto 33 days age by Mendes et al. (2001). 'P' waves were either round or slightly peaked in configuration and their amplitude ranged from 0.10 to 0.30 mV with a mean of 0.234 mV[+ or -]0.0310 and median of 0.2 mV. 'P' wave duration varied from 0.04 to 0.08 seconds with mean duration of 0.05 [+ or -] 0.0024 seconds (median 0.05 seconds). The mean value of PR interval in these crossbred calves was 0.125 [+ or -] 0.025 second (median 0.12 second; range from 0.08 to 0.18 second). In all Holstein crossbred calves, the QRS complex was predominantly negative in form of QS (Fig. 3) except in two cases wherein a very small 'r' was also evident (Fig. 2). Negative type QRS is in agreement with the observations of Nalini Kumari and Rao (2008) in cow calves and Varshney et al. (2013) in Surti buffalo calves. QRS amplitude ranged from 0.2 to 1.70 mV with an average of 0.884[+ or -] 0.06 mV (median 0.9 mV) and its duration varied from 0.04 to 0.08 second with mean of 0.054[+ or -] 0.0001 second (median 0.06 second).The S-T segment was varying from 0.12 to 0.28 second with an average duration of 0.182 [+ or -] 0.038 second. The T wave was positive (Fig. 2) in 96.55% (28/29), negative (Fig. 4) in 3.45 % (1/29) crossbred calves with its amplitude varying from 0.1 0.6 mV (mean 0.318[+ or -] 0.088, median 0.30 mV) and duration from 0.04 to 0.12 seconds (0.069[+ or -] 0.0037 seconds, median 0.08 seconds). Both +ve and -ve T wave observed in the present study agrees with the observations of Nalini Kumari and Rao (2008) in cow calves and Varshney et al. (2013) in Surti buffalo calves. The Q-T interval ranged from 0.24 to 0.39 second with average of 0.308 [+ or -] 0.0017 second and median of 0.32 second. The values for electrocardiographic parameters in Holstein crossbred calves in our study are comparable with the observations of Mendes et al. (2001) in Holstein calves of 27 to 33 days age with very minor variations. Variations can be explained by the cardiac area enlargement and by the heart rate decreasing that naturally occurs during animal growth, because these studied parameters, except PR interval, were dependent on heart rate (Amory et al., 1993). Although, detection of cardiomyopathy from electrocardiogram is not feasible in cows due to deep penetration of Purkinjee fibers and depolarization occurring over multiple minor fronts, identification of arrhythmias is of immense clinical value in the treatment of ruminants. Early detection of arrhythmias of severe nature and electrolyte imbalance might enable large animal practitioners to take appropriate remedial measures and to assess an accurate prognosis of ailing animals (Jackson and Slater, 1997).


The authoris grateful to Managing Trustees and Board of Trustees, Nandini Veterinary Hospital, Shri Surat Panjarapole Trust, Ghod-Dod Road, Surat for providing facilities.


Amory, H., Genicot, B. and Rollin, F. (1993). Normal electro and Vectocardiographic data in growing Friesian caves using semi-orthogonal lead system. J. Vet. Med. 40: 81-92.

Jackson, P. and Slater, J. (1997). Cardiovascular diseases in cattle. In Practice 19: 472-83.

Lakshmi Rani, Syaama Sundar and Arunaman, C.S. (2007). Electrocardiographic studies of healthy buffalo and HF crossbred calves. Indian Vet. J. 84:1303-05.

Mendes, L.C.N., Borges, A.S. and Alves, A.L.G. (1999). Tetralogia de Fallotem bovinos. Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec. 51: 35-38.

Mendes, L.C.N., Camacho, A.A., Alves, A.L.G., Borges, A.S., Souza, R.C.A. and Ferreira, W.L. (2001). Standard electrocardiographic values in Holstein calves. Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec. 53: 641-44.

Nalini Kumari and Rao, V.V. (2008). Electrocardiographic studies in calves. Intas Polivet 9: 348-50.

Radostits, O.M.,Gay, C.C., Blood, D.C. and Hcliff, K.W. (2000). Veterinary Medicine, 9th Edn., W.B. Saunders ELST. Rezhakani, A., Paphan, A.A. and Shekharfroush (2004). Analysis of base-apexlead electrocardiograms of normal dairy cows.Veterinarski Arhiv. 74: 351-58.

Upadhyay, R.C., Sud, S.C. and Joshi, H.C. (1976). Electrocardiographic studies in Jersey cattle. Indian Vet. J. 53: 953-61.

Varshney, J.P., Parmar, S.J., Deshmukh, V.V. and Chaudhury, P.S. (2013). Electrocardiographic studies in Surti buffalo calves. Ruminant Science 2: 167-70.

J.P. Varshney (1)

Shree Surat Panjarapole Prerit

Nandini Veterinary Hospital

Ghod-Dod Road

Surat - 395007 (Gujarat)

(1.) Senior Consultant and Corresponding author. E-mail:

(a -) Brand of Maestros Mediline Systems Limited
Table 1: Electrocardiographic indices in Holstein crossbred calves
(base-apex lead system)

ECG indices         Range       Mean [+ or -]S.E.      Median

Heart Rate (BPM)    60.0-140.0  85.2[+ or -]4.23       80.0
P amplitude (mV)     0.10-0.30   0.234[+ or -]0.031    00.2
P duration (sec)     0.04-0.08   0.05[+ or -]0.002      0.02
P-R interval (sec)   0.08-0.18   0.125[+ or -] 0.025    0.12
S amplitude (mV)     0.20-1.70   0.884[+ or -] 0.06     0.90
QRS duration (sec)   0.04-0.08   0.054[+ or -]0.0001    0.06
S-T segment (sec)    0.12-0.28   0.182[+ or -]0.038     0.20
T amplitude (mV)     0.1-0.6     0.318 [+ or -] 0.088   0.30
T duration ( sec)    0.04-.12    0.069 [+ or -]0.0037   0.08
Q-T interval (sec)   0.24-0.39   0.308[+ or -] 0.0017   0.32
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Varshney, J.P.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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