Finding The Pulse

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Your pet's pulse is most easily felt in the femoral arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the groin to the hind legs. With your pet standing, feel inside the thigh where the leg joins the body. Press with your fingers until you feel the pulsation of blood passing through the artery. Alternatively, with your pet lying on its side or back, feel in the same location. Calculate the heart rate by counting beats for 15 seconds and multiplying by four.

Feeling The Heartbeat

For thin pets it is quite simple to feel the heart beat through the chest wall. Press your left fingers against the chest wall just behind the left elbow. For very small dogs or cats, grasp the chest underneath, with your fingers on the left side and gently squeeze. A normal heart beat is quite distinct while a beat produced by a diseased heart with damaged valve produces more of a vibration or buzz.

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