An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test designed to diagnose problems with a patient’s natural electrical system, responsible for heart muscle contraction, pumping blood through the heart and throughout the rest of the body.
An EKG or ECG machine is an instrument which translates this electrical activity, with all of its spikes and dips (waves), via small sensors attached to the skin, into line tracings on one continuous strip of paper. This information is then reviewed by a veterinarian or veterinary cardiologist for diagnosis.
An EKG or ECG can most often be performed as an outpatient procedure on cooperative patients without the use of anesthesia with minimal restraint and stress.
The major reasons to perform an EKG or ECG are:
- To monitor the electrical activity within the heart.
- To diagnose chest pain in order to confirm/rule out a heart condition.
- When symptoms such as labored breathing, dizziness, fainting or rapid heartbeats (arrhythmias) are present.
- To check the overall health of the heart when other conditions or diseases are present, such as high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism or diabetes.