Studies to evaluate cardiac and pulmonary function were undertaken in 4 calves suffering from experimentally-induced heartwater. There was a marked variation in the course of the disease. Three of the calves recovered spontaneously after developing clinical signs. These included a rectal temperature in excess of 40 °C, anorexia and listlessness but no neurological signs. The remaining calf died 2 days after developing a fever and neurological signs. In the 3 calves that recovered, a mild hypoxemia developed during the acute stage of the disease. Arterial CO₂tension remained within normal limits, but there was a tendency towards an alkalosis. Increases in pulmonary dead space and fluctuations in venous admixture were observed. The calf that died showed similar mild changes in blood gas parameters, despite the presence of a marked reduction in minute volume, and a lung oedema was demonstrated on post-mortem examination. No marked changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressures and in right cardiac intraventricular pressures were observed. Terminally, however, there were marked decreases in stroke volume and cardiac output. These changes were associated with a sharp increase in heart rate. No primary cardiac pathology was observed on clinical and postmortem examinations.
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