A dedicated anesthetist should be assigned to monitor every patient during the perianesthetic period. The anesthetist is fundamental to patient safety because she assures the patient is not aware, not moving, and not in pain, all while maintaining stable anesthetic depth. A deep plane of anesthesia can lead to hypoventilation and hypoxemia, reduced cardiac output, hypotension, inadequate tissue perfusion, central nervous system (CNS) depression, and prolonged recovery. This review article first explores the stages of anesthesia and then discusses assessment of anesthetic depth in exotic companion mammals, birds, and reptiles.
Upon completion of this RACE-approved learning aid, the participant will have a basic clinical understanding of anesthetic monitoring of exotic animal patients: birds, exotic companion mammals, and reptiles.
Even the most steadfast and seasoned veterinary anesthetist can find themselves intimidated by exotic animal patients. Standard veterinary anesthesia monitors are not designed to read the extremely high (or extremely low) heart rates and respiratory rates of some exotic animal patients. Despite these challenges, valuable information can be gathered from monitoring tools as well as hands-on techniques. Essential vital signs, such as heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate and depth, body temperature, and mucous membrane color should all be evaluated.
Arterial blood pressure is a function of heart rate, blood volume, stroke volume, and arterial compliance. Indirect arterial blood pressure is most commonly measured by Doppler ultrasound or non-invasive oscillometric monitors. What are the limitations of indirect blood pressure measurements in exotic animal patients? How is this technique unique in exotic companion mammals when compared to dogs and cats? How is this technique performed in birds and can this procedure be used in reptiles?
Heart rate and oxygenation should ideally be monitored during every anesthetic event. Patient size can limit the accuracy of pulse oximetry readings in exotic companion mammals and this technique has not been validated in birds or reptiles, however trends during the course of anesthesia can still provide useful clues to patient clinical status.
Created by veterinary technician specialist, Katrina Lafferty, this anesthesia monitoring record is available for download as as both a Word document and PDF.
Download this anesthetic record, available as a PDF, and recommended by veterinary technician specialist, Katrina Lafferty.
Download this anesthesia & recovery record, suggested by veterinary technician specialist, Katrina Lafferty. This anesthetic record was created by the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists and is from a collection of online resources recommended by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Practice Standards Scheme.
Download this anesthesia monitoring sheet, available as a PDF, and recommended by veterinary technician specialist, Katrina Lafferty.