Tools of the trade: Vetcorder

portable ECG and oximeter unit

by Dr Shane Simpson, Karingal Veterinary Hospital, Frankston, VIC

The Vetcorder is a small portable ECG and pulse oximeter unit. It’s very sensitive and picks up a signal when larger machines can’t get a reading.

What’s good about it

The Vetcorder can be Bluetooth-connected to an iPad so the results are displayed on a clear, easy-to-read screen. We often have an animal in a cage with the iPad sitting on top so it can be seen from anywhere. I might be sitting at a desk 20 or 30 metres away and can still monitor the pulse ox and the ECG without difficulty. It also has an inbuilt thermometer that just needs to be pushed up against the animal’s skin to take a reading of the surface temperature.

The pulse ox uses a standard probe that attaches to the tongue or foot. The ECG has two metal clips that are attached to the left front leg and back right leg. It also has some small needle probes that are very useful with my exotics work. Clips won’t work with lizards but the needle probes can be pushed through the skin and into the muscle to pick up the ECG. 

The whole unit is about the size of a credit card and about one centimetre thick. It’s USB-charged and once fully charged, the battery will last for about a week. It has adjustable volume and the alarm can be turned off. If there’s an unusual ECG trace, the read-out on the iPad can be saved as an image and emailed to a specialist.

What’s not so good

We’ve had to replace the lingual probe for the pulse ox a few times but, to be honest, I think that’s just normal wear and tear. 

Where did you get it



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