At Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital, we recommend annual electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) screenings for all cats and certain breeds of dogs. The primary purpose is to screen for a serious hereditary heart condition called cardiomyopathy. This condition affects all breeds of cats and certain breeds of dogs of all ages and can cause sudden death with no warning signs. Cardiomyopathy is often undetectable on physical exam and blood tests. The good news is, the disease is treatable if diagnosed early.
The ECG also provides important information on heart rate, rhythm, and the electrical conduction system of the heart. The ECG may detect the presence of specific cardiac chamber enlargement, cardiac muscle disease, pericardial disease, some electrolyte imbalances, and certain drug toxicities.
Regular screening for heart disease with an ECG is an important part of your pet’s preventative healthcare program. The outward signs of underlying heart disease are often very subtle, and will sometimes not be evident until a pet is in a state of crisis. By detecting disease at an early stage, we are able to initiate early treatment. Frequently, this results in added years to a pet’s life.