THE rapid and reliable attainment of vascular access may prove crucial for the provision of an effective therapeutic solution in the critically ill or emergency small animal patient. Although in such cases it is more common to consider venous vascular access for the administration of medication and for the measurement of venous pressures, the attainment of arterial vascular access may prove just as important, allowing the direct measurement of arterial blood pressure and the sampling of arterial blood. This article provides guidelines on appropriate catheter selection for vascular access, placement techniques for both venous and arterial access, and procedures required for the long-term maintenance of these access sites.
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