An Electrocardiogram is a diagnostic test which is used to assess the heart rhythm and to identify if there are any abnormalities (arrhythmias) in the heartbeat. It can also help to detect abnormalities such as an enlarged heart, and a common finding with many heart diseases.
Using a CardioPet
The Device used to take an electrocardiogram is called “CardioPet” and this device is then connected to the computer to the CardioPet software to help capture the ECG reading.
The process of taking an ECG on a cat or a dog requires filling in the patients details onto the software before positioning and preparing the patient by laying them on their side in lateral recumbency, they can sit upright in sternal recumbency or stand upright as long as the patient is comfortable and calm. The position of the animal is then stated on the file also before the reading is taken.
Methylated spirit is applied to each limb 1 – 2 inches below the elbows and knees and sometimes the hair is shaved from that area if needed. The CardioPet comfort clips are then attached to each of the limbs and you must ensure there is good skin contact between the clips and to ensure the correct clips must be attached to the correct limbs as they are all labelled, and colour coded. Once the patient is connected to the machine the ECG can be taken once the patient is calm.
What about the Reading?
The reading will come up on the computer screen and will display all 6 leads at once and once a clear reading appears on the screen the record button is pressed to capture the ECG. The software will record 30 seconds of the ECG on the screen to get a full reading.
Once the ECG has been recorded the clips are removed from the patient’s limbs and the patient can go home.
The ECG reading taken from that patient is then submitted to the laboratory with all the patients details and will then be examined. We then receive the results after a short period of time and we inform the pet owner about the results we have received.