What is an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)?
An ECG (or EKG), is an electrocardiogram–literally an “electric heart picture.” It’s that squiggly line on the monitor in hospital rooms. The heart is a hollow muscle whose contractions pump blood through the body. These contractions are recorded as electrical signals and measured with an ECG machine. Changes in heart muscle and some, but not all, abnormalities of the heart can be diagnosed through an ECG.
The ECG process usually takes no more than a minute or two and causes your pet little to no stress. In fact, you can often remain with your pet, which helps him to feel even more at ease. The ECG is immediately visible on the computer screen.
If your pet’s ECG indicates an abnormality, we will discuss with you the options for treatment. In many cases, medications can be prescribed, while in other cases, further testing may be required.
When Does Your Pet Need an ECG?
For various reasons, some animals are predisposed to an increased risk of heart problems and should be screened for these abnormalities. Generally, heart problems are first diagnosed by the doctor listening to your pet’s heart. Specific sounds will alert the doctor to the need for an ECG.