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What is 24 Hr Holter monitoring (ambulatory ECG) test used for in dogs and cats?

Holter monitoring is used to record a continuous ECG trace typically from 24hrs up to a full 7 days of recording. It is very useful in the diagnosis of intermittent arrhythmias that may be responsible for episodes of syncope (fainting) or collapse.

It is also used for the diagnosis of certain conditions such as Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) also known as Boxer cardiomyopathy. In this heart condition affecting the Boxer breed the echocardiogram and the ECG recording in the clinic could be completely normal but it is only with the help of 24hr ECG recording that a diagnosis may be made.

How is Holter monitoring  ambulatory ECG performed in dogs and cats?

Holter monitoring is performed using the monitor itself which typically has 3 leads connected to 3 electrodes on the skin. We then use specifically designed vests which are made out of neoprene and come in various sizes to fit a wide range of patients from a cat to a Great Dane!

The picture below is one of our patients with her holter vest on. (In fact she liked it so much after we were finished recording her holter ecg the owner asked if she could keep the vest).

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Greenmount Vets
72 Gilford Road,
Portadown, Co Armagh,
BT63 5EG
Tel: 028 38 358525/352640

What information can the vet obtain from  24 hr Holter monitoring / ambulatory ECG test in your dog or cat?

The typical holter recording will allow us to check if there have been any periods of irregular heart rhythm that could account for an episode of weakness or collapse. It can be scrutinised by a computer software program to quickly and accurately highlight any abnormalities.

What treatment is available for these canine and feline conditions diagnosed by 24 hr Holter monitoring / ambulatory ECG?

Once a diagnosis is made on holter monitoring then appropriate medication can often be started to protect against potentially life threatening arrhythmias.