An ECG is a measure of the electrical output of the heart as well as counting the number of beats the heart makes per minute. Not all heart conditions can be detected by listening with a stethoscope. If a Veterinarian suspects a heart condition in your pet they may want to have an ECG run in addition to other tests. An ECG is run by placing electrical leads on key points of the patient and having the patient hold very still.
All patients undergoing general anesthesia have an ECG on during the procedure so the Vet Tech monitoring the patient can make sure the heart is beating at a steady rate with a proper electrical output. Sometimes, general anesthetic can cause minor problems with the electrical signals within the heart. By having a technician monitor the ECG waveform we are able to detect any problems and treat them before any significant issues develop.