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.
Capnometry measures the maximum value of carbon dioxide (CO2) obtained at the end of expiration or end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2). There is good correlation between ETCO2 and arterial CO2 in birds and mammals and capnography can be used as a reliable tool to evaluate the adequacy of ventilation in these species. Capnography can only be used to identify trends in reptiles because of cardiac shunting of blood past the reptilian lungs.
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.
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.