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6 Anaesthesia Tips for Veterinary Nurses

Veterinary nurses are tasked with the anaesthetic procedure and to monitor surgeries. Veterinary nurses may learn anaesthesia techniques in a program or be trained on the job. Regardless of your experience, it is important to review the basics.

1. Always perform a preanesthetic check:

* Check that the oxygen bottle is on

* Check that the oxygen bottle is full

* Perform a leak test

* Check that there is enough anaesthetic

2. Prepare all monitoring equipment before the procedure

* Check rebreathing circuits

* Check ET Tubes for holes

* Check Pulse Oximeter, Ap Alert, Doppler

3. Preoxygenate

First filling the lungs with 100% oxygen helps ensure that high oxygen concentrations can diffuse in the pulmonary system and keep the patient oxygenated.

4. Remember what your monitors are and are not telling you

Using just a pulse oximeter is not enough to fully know blood pressure, perfusion, anaesthetic depth, ventilation, temperature, or cardiac performance. It is recommended to measure temperature, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry;  performing an ECG; and looking at physical examination parameters such as eyeball position, MM/CRT, jaw tone, and auscultation.

5. Use the flow meter

If the patient is breathing 2% isoflurane at 1 L/min but needs to be deeper, increase the isoflurane to 3% and the flow to 2 L/min or greater; the new anaesthetic concentration will get there more quickly, as it has to travel through all the tubing. Once the desired plane is reached and the inhalant lowered, the flow rate should be reduced as well.

6. Keep patients warm

Body temperature regulates almost every physiologic process, so an arrhythmia or blood pressure problem will not improve until the patient is warm. Use IV fluid warmers; booties made of socks, heat mat and the like to heat the patient. Be aware that animals can move around and if they manage to have skin to heat direct contact, burning is imminent.

The International School Of Veterinary Nursing is taking enrolments now. For more information, go to

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