An unusual presentation of developmental anomalies of the cardiovascular system including tetralogy of fallot, double outlet right ventricle, patent foramen ovale and persistent right aortic arch in a Friesian calf

Aine McManus, Tim Moloney, Pamela Kelly, Conor Rowan, Cliona Skelly, Catherine I McAloon
BMC Veterinary Research 2020 June 30, 16 (1): 224

BACKGROUND: Congenital heart diseases are occasionally encountered in the bovine species. Ventricular septal defects (VSD) and atrial septal defects (ASD) are reported to be the most common; however, a vast collection have been reported [1, 2]. Congenital heart diseases is thought to represent less than 3% of all congenital abnormalities in calves [3]. Various cardiac anomalies arise due to defective embryologic development such as defects of the septae or the cardiac chambers [2]. The exact aetiology of these congenial heart anomalies remains to be fully elucidated [4]. VSDs appear to be the most common congenital cardiac anomaly in calves. Other diseases can be subdivided into cyanotic (e.g. ASD or patent ductus arteriosus) and non-cyanotic (e.g. tetralogy of fallot or eisenmengers complex) [5, 6]. An exceptional presentation of an array of congenital anomalies was identified in a Friesian heifer calf. To the authors' knowledge this concurrent collection of congenital abnormalities has never been reported in this species.

CASE PRESENTATION: A 3-day old Friesian heifer presented with a history since birth of regurgitation post feeding. The main finding on clinical examination was tachypnoea with a holosystolic murmur. Echocardiography identified a VSD, patent foramen ovale (PFO) (both with left to right blood flow) and tricuspid insufficiency. The calf was subsequently euthanised and underwent gross post-mortem examination. A persistent right aortic arch (PRAA) was identified. The cardiac anomalies identified on the echocardiogram were confirmed along with additional abnormalities; double outlet right ventricle (DORV), partial transposition of the great vessels, pulmonic stenosis, hypoplasia of the right branch of the pulmonary artery and right ventricular hypertrophy. The final diagnosis was Tetralogy of Fallot with DORV, PFO and PRAA. The lungs appeared oedematous and congested due to cardiac malfunction and cranioventral aspiration pneumonia. Free serous fluid was identified in the thoracic cavity. Unilateral renal agenesis of the left kidney was an incidental finding but is of note due to its coexistence with the cardiac abnormalities.

CONCLUSIONS: This is an unusual case as it features numerous congenital abnormalities that appeared to negate each other allowing capability with life. To the authors' knowledge, this collection of concurrent cardiac anomalies has not been previously reported in bovines.

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