Electrocardiogram

On-site ECG tracings are available to diagnose cardiac arrhythmias.  Arrhythmias can occur in horses with reduced performance, those with primary cardiac disease, or in conjunction with an illness.

 

  

 

FAQ about ECG and arrhythmias in the horse:

How long does it take to get an ECG on the farm? 

Less than one minute.  The ECG begins reading your horse’s heart rhythm immediately once placed on the skin.  Tracings continue to be recorded for as long as the ECG contacts the horse.

Are there clips on the ECG that pinch my horse’s skin?

No.  There are no clips on this ECG.  A small amount of rubbing alcohol is applied to the horse’s skin at the left girth area and the ECG is held up to the skin.

Can my horse’s ECG be sent to a cardiologist if needed?

Yes.  ECG’s can be sent directly to other veterinarians via email.

Are cardiac health and arrhythmias a concern in horses?

Yes.  Every year, we hear reports of equine athletes experiencing sudden death.  Some of these deaths may be attributable to cardiac arrhythmias during exercise.  Non-exercising horses can also experience arrhythmias that impact their health. 

Can young horses have cardiac problems?

Yes.  Foals can be born with congenital cardiac conditions which may impact their health or performance early on or later in life.

Is there anything that can be done about an arrhythmia in a horse?

Yes.  Medical treatments are available for arrhythmias in horses.  The type of treatment and prognosis for treatment vary by cardiac condition.