Obtaining and interpreting blood gases and electrolytes is fundamental to the management of many critically ill veterinary patients. Metabolic and electrolyte alterations are common, and can lead to profound clinical signs affecting many organs (including the heart, skeletal muscle, intestines and the lungs); when severe, death can ensue. This is the second of two articles describing the interpretation of blood gases and electrolytes, focusing on the electrolyte parameters measured by the widely available in-clinic blood gas analysers. The first article, published in the January issue of In Practice, focused on acid-base and oxygen status.
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