Respiratory or cardiovascular arrest in outdoor animals poses a huge challenge to veterinarians. Ventilation equipment is generally hard to operate and requires electricity and compressed air, and is not easily transportable.
Anaesthesiologists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) have developed an inexpensive device that can be used to ventilate large animals. They report that it is easy to transport and can save animal lives in emergencies.
In work recently published in Equine Veterinary Education, the scientists confirm that their emergency ventilator is effective in horses.
Yves Moens is Head of the Vetmeduni’s Clinical Unit of Anaesthesiology and Perioperative Intensive Care Medicine. He and his colleagues have long been concerned by the number of horses that die avoidable deaths because of the lack of a suitable ventilation device. The device they designed is similar to the bellows used to inflate air mattresses but has been adapted by the addition of a manually operated expiratory valve.
Although it can only provide 2.5 litres of air, the researchers believed that it would provide sufficient ventilation if the bellows were activated several times in quick succession. They tested this idea on five anaesthetised Haflinger horses during castration surgery and showed that gradual ventilation with the 2.5 litre pump was sufficient to keep the animals alive.
“It improves the safety of large animals in the field, both during routine anaesthesia and in emergencies. It will also help veterinarians to provide emergency first aid in these circumstances and respect the guidelines for good practice", says Moens. “The respiratory pump is inexpensive and easy to use and will help veterinarians treat their patients in the field.”
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