Anaesthesia for Veterinary Nurses by Elizabeth Welsh (ed.)

By Elizabeth Welsh (ed.)

Sedation and anaesthesia are an important a part of veterinary perform. The protocols and techniques concerned are frequently advanced and range significantly from animal to animal. The veterinary nurse has a pivotal function in anaesthesia, being without delay concerned earlier than, in the course of and after the anaesthetic interval.

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Even when suitable precautions are taken, animals suffering from liver disease (acquired or congenital) may take longer to recover from an anaesthetic than healthy patients. Breeds such as sighthounds are particularly sensitive to thiopentone. It is possible that this is because these dogs are usually very thin and recovery from thiopentone anaesthesia initially is by redistribution of the drug into fat. However, it is also possible that these dogs lack particular liver enzymes involved in the metabolism of thiopentone.

Carbon dioxide can be combined with water to produce carbonic acid and hydrogen ions. This reaction can be reversed to remove hydrogen ions and produce carbon dioxide. If the animal is acidaemic hydrogen ions are removed from the circulation with the result that more carbon dioxide is produced. Therefore the respiratory rate needs to increase so that the carbon dioxide can be removed from the circulation via the lungs. Similarly, if an animal is affected by metabolic alkalosis, ventilation will be depressed and carbon dioxide builds up in the body.

Pulse rate and quality: Ensure that there is no pulse deficit present, that is, each heart beat should generate a palpable pulse. Murmurs: Gallop rhythms and murmurs in cats must be taken seriously • since these patients may be poor anaesthetic candidates. • Mucous membrane colour. • Capillary refill time: Not a sensitive indicator but reflects poor circulation or hypovolaemia if the refi ll time is > 2 sec. • Temperature of extremities. • Jugular vein examination: Check for distension or presence of a jugular pulse.

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