Pet Electrocardiograms in Sanford, NC
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that is most often used to review the heart of your pet. When your dog’s or cat’s heart beats, there is an electrical signal that is generated inside a specific area of the heart. That area is known as the pacemaker. These signals that pass through the heart are recorded through an ECG (also known as an EKG).
When we review these electrical signals we are able to see if there are abnormalities within your pet’s heart. Abnormalities that could be diagnosed after reviewing the ECG may include arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), abnormal conductions, and other potential heart defects.
The great news is that our team at Willow Creek Animal Hospital is fully equipped to handle what these tests bring to light. Call us today at (919) 776-1920.
Symptoms That Would Prompt An ECG
- Exercise Intolerance
- Shortness of Breath
- Abnormal Lung Sounds
- An Irregular Heartbeat
- A Heart Murmur
- Irregular Pulses
How Is an Electrocardiogram Performed?
We perform pet ECGs in Sanford daily. No special preparation is required for this procedure.
To perform an ECG, your pet will need to remain still. They will either be standing or lying down on an exam table in our hospital. We apply electrodes to your pet’s skin, at the base of each of their four legs. We may also apply a special conduction gel or rubbing alcohol to your pet during this procedure. These applications can help electrical signals travel more easily to the ECG machine, which allows for better recordings.
Once the testing begins, we will keep your pet still for only a short period of time to get an adequate reading. Your pet’s electrical signals may be traced from a minute up to several minutes. The amount of time we trace is dependent on your pet’s cooperation and the abnormality we suspect.
What Do You Learn From an Electrocardiogram?
An ECG can provide us with a variety of information about your dog or cat's heart function.
- Is the heart rate normal? An ECG allows us to determine your pet’s heart rate. It can show whether their heart is beating at a normal pace, too rapidly, or too slowly for their breed. This can suggest medical issues that may warrant further investigation.
- Is the heart rhythm normal? An ECG gives us a very accurate way to assess your pet’s heart rhythm. If there is an abnormality, the results of the ECG will allow us to diagnose the arrhythmia and potentially diagnose the underlying causes.
- Does the pet's heart size appear to be normal? Enlarged heart tissue produces electricity differently than normal-sized heart tissue. With that said, an ECG can potentially suggest abnormalities in the size of a specific heart chamber. This method is not considered completely accurate but can prompt us to further investigate.