This is one of our heart patients, Parker, she’s a 5 year old Boxer sporting a Holter Monitor.
A Holter monitor (also called an ambulatory electrocardiography device) is a noninvasive, portable device used to continuously monitor the electrical activity of the heart in humans and animals. Its extended recording period is useful for observing occasional or intermittent cardiac arrhythmias that may be difficult to identify during a routine physical examination. Holter monitors are commonly used in Boxers and Dobermans to diagnose specific forms of heart disease and abnormal heart rhythms.
What does a Holter monitor do?
The Holter monitor continuously records your dog’s heart rate and rhythm on an electrocardiogram (ECG). The monitor is usually worn for twenty-four hours during normal activity. You should keep a diary of what activities your dog does while wearing the monitor such as taking a walk, eating, sleeping, etc.
Why does my dog need to wear a Holter monitor?
Your veterinarian may recommend this diagnostic procedure for the following reasons:
An arrhythmia is found in your pet during a physical examination
Your pet exhibits signs of weakness, dizziness, lethargy, excessive panting and agitation, or even collapse or fainting episodes
To monitor drug therapy and effects on the heart rate and rhythm
To monitor programming effects if your pet has an implanted pacemaker
Determine heart rate variability during normal activity, exercise, and rest or sleep
Diagnose the type of arrhythmia (abnormal or irregular heartbeats or rhythm) in order to determine the correct treatment
Analyze cardiac drug efficacy
Evaluate pacemaker function
How does my dog wear a Holter monitor?
The Holter monitor used for dogs consists of a monitor attached to several ECG lead wires. It is very unobtrusive and most dogs ignore its presence very quickly. After clipping away some fur and cleansing the skin, several electrode patches are adhered to the skin over the chest. The Holter monitor is a small digital unit with a main cable and several wires. The wires snap onto the electrode patches. It is then wrapped up with bandage materials around your pet’s ribcage.
After twenty-four hours, you will return to your veterinarian’s office to have the monitor removed. The ECG data is interpreted by a veterinary cardiologist who will make therapy recommendations based upon the results.