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Holter Monitor (ECG)

We are excited to be able to offer this service to our clients! A Holter monitor is a battery-operated, portable device about the size of a small camera or pager; this device measures and records the heart’s activity (ECG) continuously for 24 to 48 hours. Why might this be important to you and your pet?

  • It provides more information than a routine electrocardiogram can give us about the heart’s electrical activity, detecting abnormalities in rhythm and rate that may occur off and on throughout the day. Such abnormalities would not be apparent on a standard ECG which is of much shorter duration.
  • There are certain breeds of dogs and cats that may have a potentially life-threatening heart disease which will go unrecognized without this special type of monitoring. In fact, pets with heart rhythm disorders often have normal physical examinations.
  • Detecting these “hidden” heart problems allows us the opportunity to help many of these pets with medication which decreases the risk of fainting, weakness or even sudden death.

The Holter monitor has electrodes which are connected onto your pet at small areas shaved for placement.  As all equipment is kept on site at Bellevue Animal Hospital, you will not have to travel with your pet to a specialty or referral hospital. After we place the monitor, your pet will go home with you and can resume most normal activities while the monitor digitally records heart rhythm and rate for an “ambulatory” ECG over the next 24 – 48 hours. (If your pet enjoys swimming, it will have to abstain while wearing the monitor.)  We will then need to see your pet once again for removal of the device.

Holter Monitoring is currently recommended for the following:

  • All Boxer dogs three years of age or older, to screen for ARVC (arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.) ARVC is an adult-onset heart muscle disease that can lead to collapse and sudden death – sadly, often the first presentation of the disease for Boxers – or the development of congestive heart failure (rare in Boxers, but more common in the breeds listed below) where the dog starts to cough or becomes short of breath.
  • Several large dog breeds that are also genetically predisposed to heart disease, including the Doberman Pinscher, Irish Wolfhound, and Great Dane.
  • Pets with undiagnosed collapsing episodes.
  • Cats prone to cardiomyopathy, including Maine Coons.
  • To evaluate response to anti-arrhythmia therapy.

If you or someone you know has a pet that may benefit from this type of testing, please contact our hospital at (402) 291-1255 and ask to speak to a veterinarian to discuss the details.