EKG for Cats and Dogs

Just like humans, dogs and cats can develop heart disease. In order to diagnose it, your veterinarian may suggest an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to monitor your pet’s heart health.

An EKG is a commonly used, safe diagnostic tool that records the electrical impulses given out by your pet’s heartbeats. These impulses are amplified 3,000 times, generating a report for the veterinarian to evaluate.

Why Cats & Dogs May Need an EKG

Just because your veterinarian orders an EKG for your dog or cat, it doesn’t mean that anything’s seriously wrong with them. 

There are a variety of reasons your vet may want a better idea of your pet’s heart function, including:

  • A heart rhythm that’s difficult to hear clearly during a physical exam
  • Potential irregular heart rhythm
  • Monitoring of a drug that has cardiac side effects
  • Preparation for and during general anesthesia
  • Fainting or respiratory symptoms
  • Confirmation of a diagnosis found on other imaging 

If you aren’t sure why your vet ordered an EKG, just ask. They can give you more information about the reasons for the procedure and what they’re looking for.

What Does an EKG Look for?

EKGs detect electrical problems in the heart, including irregular heart rates or arrhythmias. Your vet can use the EKG to diagnose certain underlying heart diseases, and it is a complementary diagnostic procedure for heart enlargement, electrical impulse abnormalities, and valve disease.

An EKG is also used to monitor your pet while under anesthesia, as it provides a real-time view of their heart rate and rhythm. This allows your veterinarian to monitor the effects of any drugs or medications your pet is given during the procedure, can show just how deep under anesthesia your pet is, and allows your vet to monitor your pet’s pain level so any changes can be made so they are more comfortable.

How Is An EKG Performed?

Our main goal when performing an EKG is to make your pet as comfortable as possible. We will help them lie down on their side, and gently attach electrodes to their elbows, knees, and/or chest wall.

The electrical impulses that are emitted to perform the EKG are completely painless, so your pet won’t feel anything during the procedure. The whole test takes just a few minutes, and a member of our team is with your pet the entire time.

Since we keep our EKG equipment in-house, we can quickly read the results and discuss them with you. If we have any particular concerns when reading the test results, we’ll consult with a veterinary cardiologist to discuss any additional diagnostics or treatments your pet may need.

EKG for Cats and Dogs in Frederick, MD

Often, we at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital refer our patients for veterinary EKGs after a routine wellness exam. Sometimes, they’re done if you bring a sick pet to us. No matter the reason for your pet’s EKG, our team of skilled, caring veterinary professionals will keep your pet comfortable and safe during the procedure. Call today for an appointment!