Tools of the Trade: AliveCor veterinary heart monitor


AliveCor veterinary heart monitorAliveCor veterinary heart monitor

by Dr Nikki Tapp, Marlin Cost Veterinary Hospital, Trinity Beach, Qld

This is a case that snaps onto an iPhone 4/4s or 5/5s and transforms it into a portable ECG. Once you download the app, you’re ready to go.

What’s good about it?

The phone is simply placed against the left-hand side of the animal and tilted at about 45 degrees towards the head. For really good contact, it’s advisable to shave the area first. Once it’s in position, it will automatically start reading the ECG.

It will keep recording until it loses contact and then download the results into the iPhone, to be emailed or attached to the patient’s record.

It’s very quick and easy. I find that it’s great for emergency situations like eclampsia or hyperkalemia. When you need a quick reading on heart electro-connectivity, this unit is perfect.

However, it’s not really suitable for heart work-ups or for more complicated procedures such as diagnosing chamber enlargement. This unit is designed to get a quick, simple reading. I had a GDV recently and when the dog was recovering, it allowed me to monitor the animal easily and frequently. Except for more complex cases, it can be used for anything. It’s a great little tool.

What’s not so good?

It works faultlessly when used with an iPhone 5, but sometimes has problems with an iPhone 4. Our work phone is an iPhone 4 and we can’t download the app to the phone. It’s also not compatible with other brands of smartphones, but I believe they are planning to rectify this in the future.

Where did you get it?

Blackmores (


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