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How is a Pet ECG Performed?

Our Fear-Free® certified veterinarians will make sure that your pet is in a relaxed state when performing the painless cat or dog ECG test at home. Once your dog or cat is calm, comfortable and can remain still either standing up or lying down, your vet will apply either rubbing alcohol or gel before placing the ECG electrodes on the base of your dog or cat’s legs. Your pet’s electrical impulses will then be recorded for as short as a minute time, up to a few minutes. After the test is run, your vet may send the results out to a veterinary cardiologist for interpretation. Reports can take up to five business days, depending on the service. Your vet will then contact you to discuss the results. 


Common Reasons Why Your Pet Might Need an ECG

An ECG can yield important information for you and your veterinarian, and the results can answer questions about the overall health of your pet’s heart.

  • If your pet has heart disease or another medical condition that can affect their heart
  • When your pet’s heartbeat is irregular or difficult to hear during a physical exam
  • If your pet needs surgery
  • When there are concerns about your pet’s breathing or mobility
  • If cardiac monitoring is recommended due to your pet’s medication
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is my pet’s heart rhythm normal?
An ECG is a highly accurate tool for assessing the rhythm of your pet’s heart. An ECG can determine if your pet’s heart rhythm is normal or abnormal. It can detect a cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat) as well as a heart murmur and the underlying causes of any abnormal rhythms.
Is my pet’s heart rate normal?

An ECG can determine if your pet’s  heart rate is within a normal range. If your pet’s heart is beating too quickly or too slowly, this can be an indication of a medical condition that may require further examination.

Is the size of my pet’s heart normal?
An ECG uses electricity to measure the size of your pet’s heart tissue and can reveal any abnormalities in the size of your pet’s heart chambers. If the results of your pet’s ECG reveal issues with heart size, then additional testing will be recommended for further investigation.
Are there other health issues that an ECG could reveal?

An ECG can also determine if your pet has any congenital heart defects, heart diseases, such as congenital heart failure, or heart valve damage.

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