Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care – Most Recent



To determine if human automated external defibrillators (AEDs) could successfully record cardiac electrical activity in dogs, make appropriate recommendations regarding shock delivery, and characterize skin preparation required for a readable ECG based on dog haircoat characteristics.


Prospective study of AED use in dogs conducted between January and March 2021.


University teaching hospital.


Three groups of client-owned dogs were evaluated. Group 1 consisted of 23 healthy dogs with sinus rhythms, group 2 consisted of 9 dogs with documented cardiac arrhythmias, and group 3 consisted of 9 dogs receiving CPR following naturally occurring cardiopulmonary arrest.

Materials and Methods

Haircoat characteristics and clipping or ECG paste required to obtain a readable ECG were recorded. The time interval from a readable ECG by the investigator until AED shock advisement was measured. Correctness of shock advice was recorded. Analyses were performed using commercial statistical software. P-values <0.05 were considered significant.


The attending veterinarian judged the ECG on the AED to be readable in all dogs. Time to shock advisement in all dogs was median 18 (range: 7–180) seconds. Dogs with heavy, long, or double haircoats required clipping in 24 of 27 (89%) cases to obtain a readable ECG. ECG paste on the AED pad was required in 36 of 40 dogs (90%) in order to obtain a readable ECG. The AED advice for delivery of shock was appropriate in 51 of 52 (98%) queries of the machine across all groups.


Human AEDs can successfully record cardiac electrical activity in dogs. AEDs appropriately recommend delivery of a shock most times, contingent on skin preparation. Dogs with double, long, or heavy haircoats should be clipped prior to pad application. ECG paste will aid AED reading in all haircoat types. Further investigation is warranted into AED use in dogs, particularly in general practices.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, EarlyView.Wiley: Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care: Table of Contents

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