Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

ECG for Cats & Dogs

Electrocardiograms (ECGs) are a vital tool in veterinary medicine, used to assess the heart health of our beloved pets. Like humans, an ECG for dogs and cats can provide critical insights into their cardiac function. But when is an ECG needed, how is it performed, and what should you expect during the process? Let’s discuss the details.

What is ECG?

An ECG is a valuable diagnostic tool in veterinary medicine, providing crucial insights into your pet’s heart health. Whether for a routine check-up, pre-surgical assessment, or investigation of cardiac symptoms, an ECG can help ensure that your furry friend stays healthy and happy.

When & why is an ECG needed for a dog?

A dog ECG, or canine ECG, is typically recommended in several scenarios. These include:

  • Pre-Anesthetic Assessment: This is recommended before the dog undergoes surgery, especially if it is older or has a history of heart issues.
  • Signs of Cardiac Disease: If a dog exhibits symptoms like coughing, difficulty breathing, fainting, or an irregular heartbeat.
  • Monitoring Known Heart Conditions: To evaluate the progress of a diagnosed heart condition and the effectiveness of ongoing treatments.
  • Routine Health Checks: An ECG can be part of regular health screenings for breeds predisposed to heart problems.

What does an ECG tell your veterinarian about your pet?

An ECG gives your veterinarian several pieces of information about your pet's heart. Firstly, it indicates the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. Additionally, it provides insight into the electrical impulses moving through each part of the heart.

A typical ECG pattern consists of a small rising bump called the P-wave, a large spike upwards called the QRS complex, and another small bump called the T-wave.

The P-wave corresponds to the contraction of the atria, the QRS complex signifies the depolarization of the ventricles, which is the typical 'heartbeat,' and the T-wave represents the repolarization of the heart.

Your vet will check the wave's shape and measure the distances between its various parts. Often, the focus is on the information provided by the P-wave and the QRS complex interval. These aspects indicate how rapidly the heart is filling with blood and pumping it out.

Another key source of information is the peaks of the QRS complex and the distances between them. A consistent distance between the spikes indicates a regular heartbeat, while variation suggests an irregular heartbeat.

What are normal cat and dog ECGs?

The normal rhythm for a canine ECG should be 60 to 170 beats per minute. The normal rhythm of cats should be 140 to 220 beats per minute.

Are ECGs dangerous?

Yes, ECG tests are safe. ECG is a non-invasive diagnostic test that passively monitors the heart.

Is there any special instruction before an ECG is performed?

Depending on the procedure, the vet may sometimes request that the pet be fast. However, if the dog is very anxious or unable to stay still, a mild sedative might be used to ensure accurate readings.

ECGs for Cats

While this post focuses on dogs, it’s important to note that cats can also benefit from ECGs. The process and reasons for performing a cat ECG are similar to those for dogs. Understanding the normal cat ECG parameters is crucial for diagnosing feline heart conditions effectively.

How long does it take?

The actual recording of an ECG takes only a few minutes. However, the entire process might take about 15-30 minutes, including preparation and positioning. If the dog is particularly anxious or restless, it might take longer to ensure accurate results.

How much is an ECG for a dog or cat?

If you're interested in the cost, it's best to contact your vet directly. Prices vary depending on the clinic and region, but they should be able to provide you with an accurate estimate.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned your dog or cat might need an ECG? Our vets in Clarksville offers ECGs for pets. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Sango Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clarksville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(931) 368-8050 Contact