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Companion Animal Practice
Prevention and treatment of perioperative hypothermia in animals under 5 kg bodyweight
  1. Pamela Murison

    Pamela Murison graduated from Glasgow in 1992. After three years in mixed general practice, she completed a clinical training scholarship in veterinary anaesthesia at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. She holds the certificate in veterinary anaesthesia and is a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia. She is currently a lecturer in veterinary anaesthesia at the University of Bristol.


HYPOTHERMIA resulting from anaesthesia is common in the perioperative period and may increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmias and other complications. Very small animals are especially at risk of developing hypothermia because of their larger surface area to volume ratio compared with heavier animals. If the bodyweight of an animal is abnormally low, heat loss may also be increased due to less body fat insulation. The risk of hypothermia can be reduced by a variety of methods and many devices are available to provide warmth for anaesthetised animals. This article discusses why temperature loss is important, and how its effects can be minimised.

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