by Dr Gavin Newman, Eyes at Prospect, SA
I own and manage Eyes at Prospect Vet, an ophthalmic referral veterinary practice in North Adelaide. We offer a high level of ocular care through our ophthalmic service. It would be a fairly heroic investment for a general practice to invest in an electroretinogram (ERG) but I use it frequently.
What’s good about it
The ERG BPM-300 provides a measure of the electrical response of the retina to a light flash or a pattern stimulus. Once a dog or cat is sedated, two electrodes are inserted subcutaneously on each side of the eye and a corneal contact lens electrode is positioned on the eyeball. The ERG unit flashes light and the retinal activity is recorded.
I commonly use it for assessing retinal health when the retina is obscured—for example, to assess suitability for cataract surgery.
It’s also commonly employed in cases of acute vision loss. It can be extremely useful in elucidating whether the lesion is retinal, affecting the optic nerve or if there is central disease.
While older ERG units were often affected by interference from electrical outputs, I have never experienced this problem with the BPM-300. It’s simple to use and relatively quick to perform.
What’s not so good
I couldn’t find this particular model available in Australia so had to import it from the USA.