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Critical Care

Blood Gases – Arterial

Arterial Blood Gas – Why don’t we do them more often? Jennifer Waldrop, DVM, DACVECC – Washington Myth 1: It’s too hard to obtain the sample. Arterial blood gases may seem hard to acquire but actually are no harder in medium to large dogs than sampling a vein. Because the artery has a thicker muscular wall, it is can be slightly more difficult to pierce, but by using your finger to anchor the artery, you can make it easier. The most common place to try is the dorsal pedal artery on the medial aspect of the metatarsus. Another common location is the femoral artery or the lingual artery if under anesthesia. The femoral artery must be held off manually for 5 minutes after sampling. When you have a large dog under anesthesia, use this time to practice feeling an artery and even trying to obtain a sample in more controlled circumstances.                 Myth 2: It’s too hard to handle the sample. Arterial samples are handled the same way as venous with a few exceptions. Do not agitate an arterial sample as it can falsely elevate your oxygen content. You do not need to

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Acute Abdomen: Clinical Approach

Acute Abdomen: Clinical Approach Adam R. Lancaster, DVM, DACVECC A patient with an acute abdomen can typically be identified by the presence of acute abdominal pain. Other signs such as vomiting and diarrhea may also be present. General causes of abdominal pain include distention of a hollow viscus or organ capsule, ischemia, traction and inflammation. Any of these causes may progress to necrosis and loss of organ function. There are numerous causes of acute abdominal pain including intestinal obstruction, septic peritonitis, hemoabdomen, pancreatitis, uroabdomen, gallbladder disease or rupture, GDV and ileus. This is not an exhaustive list but rather some of the more common causes. Once a patient has been identified as having acute abdominal pain, a primary survey of the patient should be completed. At this point, it is important to recognize and treat shock and other concurrent injuries quickly. Following initial stabilization, a thorough diagnostic evaluation should be performed to identify the underlying cause of the abdominal pain. A full physical examination should be performed and a careful and detailed abdominal palpation may occasionally locate the specific area of pain, such as a loop of intestine, the prostate, kidney or an abdominal mass. Frequently a specific area cannot

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