Canine Holter Monitoring

24 Hour Heart Tests


CONTENTS:

What & why??

Which breeds?

About testing

Buying a monitor

Renting a monitor

Sample heart reports

HOW TO USE A HOLTER MONITOR

Apex Boxers Email address

Apex Boxers, New Zealand

APEX HOME





CONTENTS:

What & why??

Which breeds?

About testing

Buying a monitor

Renting a monitor

Sample heart reports

HOW TO USE A HOLTER MONITOR

Apex Boxers Email address

Apex Boxers, New Zealand

APEX HOME





CONTENTS:

What & why??

Which breeds?

About testing

Buying a monitor

Renting a monitor

Sample heart reports

How to use a holter monitor

Apex Boxers Email address

Apex Boxers, New Zealand

APEX HOME





CONTENTS:

What & why??

Which breeds?

About testing

Buying a monitor

Renting a monitor

Sample heart reports

HOW TO USE A HOLTER MONITOR

Apex Boxers Email address

Apex Boxers, New Zealand

APEX HOME





CONTENTS:

What & why??

Which breeds?

About testing

Buying a monitor

Renting a monitor

Sample heart reports

HOW TO USE A HOLTER MONITOR

Apex Boxers Email address

Apex Boxers, New Zealand

APEX HOME





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SITE CONTENTS:
What is a 24 hour heart monitor and why use it? | Which breeds need holter checks? | About dog hearts and testing | How to use a holter monitor | Buying a holter monitor | Renting a holter monitor | Sample heart reports
This page last updated Feb 2016




Various types of holtersWhat is a 24 hour heart monitor and why use it?
A 24 hour heart monitor records heart beats over an extended period of time. It can detect heart problems that other tests can't - in particular, it is recommended for many forms of cardiomyopathy (more about heart problems below). The holter has a recorder that is connected to your dog's body through leads with sticky electrodes (see picture at right). The gadget is kept in place with a vest, harness or bandages.

Why use a 24 hour heart monitor?
My personal experience is a good example. My first Boxer was a seemingly fit & healthy show bitch who had been 'health tested' as thoroughly as was available. She died before she reached 5 years - no hint of a problem until she collapsed. As her devoted owner, I wish she could have been put on medication earlier to give her a longer life. As a breeder, I also wish I'd known because she'd had pups, and yes, some of her pups also lived short lives.

So, why use a 24 hour heart monitor? Well, because it gives you the best possible chance of avoiding having (or producing) a walking time bomb.



Which breeds benefit from heart holter checks?
Lots of breeds can suffer from cardiomyopathy which is hard to detect in its early (or 'occult') stages Ė thatís why the 24 hour test is useful. Here are the breeds identified as being prone to cardiomyopathy:

Bouvier de Flanders, Boxer, Bull Mastiff, Cocker Spaniel, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Saluki
(Source: Clinical cardiology concepts)

The 24 hour heart holter monitor is especially recommended for Boxers, Dobermans and Great Danes to detect problems before they're evident on other forms of testing.

Note: Boxer Cardiomyopathy (BCM) is different from the disease in other breeds and is more correctly called 'Familial Ventricular Arrhythmia (FVA)' or 'Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC)' as it's an electrical problem rather than a disease of the heart muscle itself - that's why it's so hard to detect! It's a bit like a heater with a damaged wire or connection inside - it may only short out sometimes without any outward sign, and the heater may seem good as new until you get a complete meltdown. Your local vet can't usually detect BCM/ARVC.

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    About hearts and heart testing
    Links are provided to sites with information on the heart diseases that benefit from holtering. The list includes information for all breeds, and information specific to Boxers, Dobermans, great Danes and Rottweilers.


    Using a holter monitor

    There are extensive resources on how to use a holter monitor on a separate page: HOW TO USE A HOLTER MONITOR.

    The resources include step by step instructions, an instructional video, and a photo album showing supplies and the process.



    Renting a holter monitor

    Where to rent from:
    • Some cardiologists and vet schools offer holter services Ė prices vary hugely, and make sure you check whether the cost covers everything. Some places expect your dog to be hospitalised during the 24 hour period Ė not the ideal way to test. To make the investment in the test worthwhile itís best to try capture how the heart functions during normal activities.
    • Dunedin South Vet Clinic in NZ offers a very reasonably priced holtering service, and they're open 7 days a week. A trip to Dunedin for this service (combined with a dog show?) could be a cheap easy way to have your dog checked.
    • The South Island Boxer Club in NZ offers a holter I donated to them for loan.
    • The Horowhenua Kennel Association in NZ offers a holter I donated to them for loan.
    • Some dog clubs in North America rent out holters, and some clubs in other parts of the world may start to also, so talk to your club secretary. If they donít already own a holter, you may wish to encourage them to consider it (better still, why donít you donate some money towards that?)
    • Some individual dog breeders own holters and loan them out. (I used to be one of them until I grew tired of people abusing this service).
    ANALYSIS OPTIONS
    As well as getting access to the holter monitor unit you also need to arrange to have the recording of your dogís heart analysed. See HOW TO USE A HOLTER MONITOR for further information about analysis options.


    Buying a holter monitor
    If you are interested in purchasing a monitor for yourself (or your club), prices range from a US$500 for a refurbished analog (cassette tape) machine, through to US$2,000 for a brand new digital monitor. I have found the reconditioned 2nd hand analog holters sold by ALBA Medical Canine Health Services to be reliable and they offer great after sales service!

    SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT DIGITAL MONITORS: With digital monitors be aware that the brand you buy MUST be compatible with the company who will analyse your reports. So, for example, if you buy a digital monitor from Alba Medical, you'll need to have your analysis done by ALBA. If you want to have analysis done at WSU, you need to buy your digital monitor from Forest Medical (www.forestmedical.com). With Digital monitors you may also face additional software or data transfer costs (does not apply to ALBA).

    I have both an analog and digital monitor and use ALBA for all my analysis - if I have questions about the results, I consult Dr Meurs or my local board certified cardiologist.

    Other supplies you may need:
    • Bandages/tape for securing leads (optional)
    • Harness or vest for securing holter monitor
    • Testing kit for each dog (electrodes, tape/SD card, diary, alcohol swabs, packaging & post)
    • Shaver for preparing patches of skin for electrodes (if you choose to shave), or get your vet clinic to shave
    • Replacement leads from time to time (I did not require any for 7 years)
    • Cleaning solution for removing sticky electrode residue.
    • And of course you need to pay to have each heart recording analysed.
    See HOW TO USE A HOLTER MONITOR for further information about how holtering actually works.


    Sample heart reports
    I have provided sample reports with some basic explanations on a separate page: Sample heart reports

    The articles linked to in the section About dog hearts and testing above also provide valuable information on how to understand the results of a holter report.



    Any questions, don't hesitate to contact me - I am very happy to help anyone with boxer heart issues:
    Daniela Rosenstreich, Email: Apex Boxers Email address.


    Note: A company called Petcardiology has plagiarised material from my website for use in promoting their holter service. They never contacted me for permission, and their responses when I raised the issue demonstrated a lack of professionalism and integrity. As they're not capable of writing their own guides to using a holter, and not honest enough to acknowledge sources, they're not a company I would do business with. There are plenty of other holter services (I provide links above).


     
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