Pet Electrocardiograms serving Ames and Gilbert, IA
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 Companion Animal Clinic is fully equipped to handle what these tests bring to light. Call us today at (515) 233-6689.
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 serving Ames and Gilbert 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.
How Often Should a Patient be Treated?
Acute conditions may be treated daily, particularly if they are accompanied by significant pain. More chronic problems respond better when treatments are received 2 to 3 times a week, tapering to once ever week or two as improvement is seen.
How Many Treatments Does it Take?
This depends on the nature of the condition being treated. For some acute conditions, 1-2 treatments may be sufficient. Those of a more chronic nature may require 5 to 8 (or more) treatments. Some conditions require ongoing periodic care to control pain.
How Long Before the Results are Felt?
Your pet may feel improvement in their condition (usually pain reduction) after the first treatment. Sometimes they will not feel improvement for a number of treatments. This does not mean that nothing is happening! Each treatment is cumulative and results are often felt after 3 or 4 sessions.
Can it be Used in Conjunction with Other Forms of Treatment?
Yes! Laser Therapy is often used with other forms of therapy, including physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, massage, soft tissue mobilization, electrotherapy and following surgery. Other healing modalities are complementary and can be used with laser to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
Does it Hurt? What Does a Treatment Feel Like?
There is little to no sensation during treatment. Occasionally, the patient feels mild, soothing warmth, or tingling. Areas of pain or inflammation may be sensitive briefly before pain reduction.
Are There Any Side Effects or Associated Risks?
During more than twenty years of use by healthcare providers all over the world, very few side effects have ever been reported. Occasionally, some old injuries or pain syndromes may feel aggravated for a few days, as the healing response is more active after treatment.
How Long Does Each Treatment Take?
The typical treatment is 3 to 8 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated.