Holter monitoring is a way of assessing your pets heart rhythym and rate over a 24 hour period. This is a much more sensitive way of picking up the presence of intermittent ECG abnormalities than a two minute brief ECG recording.

This technique also allows a dog to go through its normal daily activities including even some exercise particularly when this is the trigger for any symptoms. A time log of the day is kept to link the ECG with the pets activities.

Reasons to Holter Monitor

 

An arrythmia is suspected on Veterinary examination

 

When intermittent arrhythmia needs to be excluded in cases of a pet having unexplained weakness, dizziness, lethargy, excess panting and aggitation or even collapse and fainting.

 

Simply being a Doberman

Dobermans have a breed wide problem of developing Dilated Cardiomyopathy with upto 50% being affected over their lifetime. This is a degenerative disease of heart muscle that results in a thin walled weak flabby heart. When symptoms appear response to treatment is often brief with sadly sudden death often occuring. 

The most effective option to help is to diagnose this disease early before the dog has clinical symptoms. This can be achieved by looking for abnormal heart beats called ventricular premature contractions (VPC). If medication is started early many studies show that a normal life without signs can be extended by two years or more.

Recommendation is a baseline holter ECG at two years of age then annually to five years, then every second year.

Simply being a Boxer

Boxers are also very prone to a disease of the muscle of the heart. In Boxers this is more likely to be associated only with arrythmias unlike the heart failure of Dobermans. There condition is a bit of a mouthful but is called Arrythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). 

Symptoms can include weakness and lethargy but can progress to collapse and sudden death.

Again ventricular premature contractions (VPCs) in the ECG can be counted over 24 hours. Greater than 300 confirms disease and greater than 1000 may indicate a reason to consider treatment.

Baseline Holter monitor at three years of age then every second year 

 


What's involved?

The procedure is quite straight forward. Your pet comes in on a morning from Monday to Thursday. A patch of hair is removed behind each elbow on the chest wall and over the heart to attach five sticky electrodes. Five wires are then snapped onto the electrodes in the correct order and attached to a tiny digital ECG recorder. An appropriate sized comfortable neoprene vest is fitted to keep everything snug and out of harms way. You can wait while this is done and take your pet home again.

A log book is supplied so you can record what your pet is doing at different times of the day.

Your pet is returned at the same time the next day so we can remove the equipment.

The Results

The digital information is taken off the device and sent to a centre based in America that specialises in ECG analysis of pets. The large amount of information is reviewed manually rather than via software for greater accuracy. A detailed report is provided and the turn around time is short. A more detailed report from a specialist cardiologist can also be requested.