Validation of Smartphone Application Software in the Measurement of Heart Rate in Dogs and Cats

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The hypothesis of this study was that smartphone application software (apps) can provide an easy, cheap, accurate, reliable and readily available method for owners to monitor their animal's heart rates (HRs) at home. The aims of this study were to determine the degree of correlation between app-derived heart rates and ECG-derived heart rates and to determine whether the strength of the correlation was influenced by the following variables: species, body size, panting or vocal, clipped or unclipped coat, anaesthetised or conscious.

Heart rates were obtained with 3 different commercially available apps and compared with those from simultaneously recorded ECGs in 7 cats and 37 dogs referred to the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. The apps used were the "Instant Heart Rate Monitor"(IHRM), which uses the camera to detect a pulse, and the "Heart Beat Monitor"(HTM) and "Heart Monitor"(HM), which use the microphone to detect heart sounds. Animals were selected according to demeanour and absence of an auscultatable arrhythmia.

Using Pearson's correlations, there was no significant correlation between HM and ECG for heart rates in dogs (r = -0.096, p = 0.613) and cats (r = 0.622, p = 0.136), for HTM in dogs (r = -0.208, p = 0.353) and cats (r = -0.069, p = 0.871), or for IHRM in cats (r = -0.402, p = 0.371). For IHRM in dogs, there was significant correlation with the ECG-derived heart rate (p = 0.036) but with r = -0.497, suggesting the IHRM was half-sampling the heart rate. Using Bland-Altman plots for all 3 apps, a high proportion of data points fell outside 95% confidence intervals, suggesting that errors were not consistent and a correcting factor could not be used.

Comparing HRs with a 2-sample t-test, for the HM app, size had a significant effect in dogs (p = 0.026) with the error increasing significantly in large dogs versus small dogs. For the HBM app, the error increased significantly comparing large dogs (p = 0.022) and medium dogs (p = 0.039) versus small dogs. There was also a greater error in awake versus anaesthetised cats and clipped versus non-clipped cats (both p = 0.007). None of the variables significantly affected the error in the IHRM app.

In conclusion, this study failed to demonstrate that the 3 selected smartphone apps were reliable or accurate in calculating heart rate in cats or dogs. Further development in smartphone technology is required to allow owner assessment of heart rate in dogs and cats.

Conflicts of Interest

No conflicts of interest reported
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event23rd ECVIM-CA Congress - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Sep 2016 → …


Conference23rd ECVIM-CA Congress
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period12/09/16 → …


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