irregular heart rhythm is detected on clinical examination, an
electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) should be undertaken. The small
electrical impulses normally generated by the heart are amplified
3,000 or more times and recorded by the ECG machine. An ECG can
detect minor disturbances in the heart beat and allow us to diagnose
many types of heart disease.
An ECG is a
simple test to perform. Your pet is usually placed in a standing or
lying position and electrodes are attached to the elbows and knees.
A jelly or liquid is applied to improve electrical conduction
between the dog and the electrodes. The ECG machine merely records
the electrical impulses from the dog and there are no unpleasant
sensations nor is there any danger to the pet.
In some cases a more prolonged ECG examination is required. This is
called a Holter Recorder and consists of a small pack that the dog
wears for 24-72 hours. This is a technique that is becoming more
commonly used to precisely diagnose the reason for intermittent
collapse in dogs with abnormal heart rhythm. Often an ECG
examination is combined with chest radiographs (x-rays). ECG
analysis is a safe, simple test that provides us with valuable
information about your petís health.
This client information sheet is
based on material written by Ernest E. Ward Jr., DVM
2002 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license.
June 29, 2004.