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Companion Animal Practice
Critical care and monitoring of small animal patients
  1. Graham Bilbrough

    Graham Bilbrough graduated from Cambridge in 2000. After a period in mixed practice in Oxfordshire, he returned to Cambridge where he is currently the BSAVA Petsavers resident in anaesthesia and critical care at the Queen's Veterinary School Hospital.


ONCE patient triage and emergency procedures are complete, attention must turn to the longer-term care of critically ill animals. Such cases are typically unstable and profound changes in organ function can occur rapidly. Any efforts to maintain life will be wasted without appropriate continuing care. Repeated evaluations are required to allow prompt recognition of problems and enable early intervention. This article provides a checklist of parameters which should be monitored when caring for critically ill patients. This list is by no means exhaustive as some patients will require attention to other aspects; it nevertheless forms the basis of a routine assessment to ensure that each patient is being monitored appropriately. Monitoring equipment is often used to detect changes in physiological parameters, but not all of the devices discussed are essential for good critical care. Their use should be limited to situations where they provide pertinent information and are well tolerated by the patient.

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