Ekgs are useful tests for DCM, but they need to be done for longer than the 5-15 minutes you'd normally get in a vet's office, even a specialist. You need to do a 24 hour ekg with a holter monitor. A dog *could* be throwing a lot of vpc's, but just not do so during a short run of ekg testing.
So does that mean you need to go straight to a Holter--or can the EKG pick up enough of the positive
cases that it is worth it as a basic screening test?
Would a testing protocol like this work:
EKG-----positive (medicate as necessary, use EKG (plus echo, etc) for further monitoring)
negative---run longer Holter EKG------if positive (medicate, etc); if negative (monitor with EKG bi-annually or annually)
Or do you always run the Holter for follow-up treatments even if you already know your dog is positive, so you could skip the weed-out step of an in-office EKG?
We have a cardiologist who comes to town once a month for a day (who treats current patients and new ones they can squeeze in)--certainly I could get to a cardiologist (same one, different office) with a bit of a drive (probably an hour and a half each way--not terrible), but I was wondering if there is any place left for the in-office EKG--my vet said his office no longer does them as a screening test for DCM.
And then I suppose you have the problem of getting a qualified person to read the test-----but I'm just wondering.