Otay Vet Veterinary Clinic - ECG (electrocardiogram)

The heart produces its own electrical signals, which are responsible for generating the thousands of heartbeats over the course of an animal’s lifetime. These internal electrical signals can be picked up by using an ECG (electrocardiogram) machine.

An ECG tracing is obtained by attaching wires (called leads) to points on the animal’s body. They are usually attached to the points of the elbow and the knees on both the left and right sides. The hair is clipped and sprayed with alcohol so the leads can be attached directly to the skin which gives a better tracing. The ECG generates a tracing, which measures the electrical activity in the heart which has a very specific form and can be assessed to see whether there are any abnormalities.

Otay Vet Veterinary Clinic regularly uses ECG’s to measure the rate, rhythm and signal conduction in the heart muscle. This can be abnormal in many conditions directly affecting the heart. However, ECG’s can also be extremely useful in assessing the impact that diseases of other organs can have on the heart.

An ECG is routinely performed in diagnosing conditions that might directly affect the heart e.g. in older dogs where leaky heart valves can produce heart sounds called murmurs. The ECG enables an accurate assessment of the heart and improves our ability to diagnose and treat these and other conditions.

In some cases ECG’s are also used to monitor the heart during anesthesia in order to help reduce anesthesia related risk. Here it acts as an early warning system should any complications arise that might lead to heart failure.

Otay Vet is equipped with an ECG for routine procedures and we also use IDEXX TELEMEDICINE as a reference support for specialized heart conditions and diagnosis.