Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Is there a trick to making pulse oxes work on animals?

Pulse oximeters are originally designed to be used for people, and veterinary pulse oximeters are really only hospital devices which have been modified to work on animals. The problems with measuring pulse and oxygen saturation on animals is that the measuring sites such as ears and tongues are much smaller and covered with fur. Below are some basic requirements to help get a good pulse reading.

Basic Requirements for Successful Use of Pulse Oximetry on Animals

  • The monitoring site must have a good peripheral pulse.
  • The sensor should be securely attached, but should not inhibit perfusion.
  • The monitoring site should be protected from excessive motion. 
  • Fur should be removed when necessary and highly pigmented areas avoided
  • The sensor should be protected from extraneous light. Operation in direct sunlight is to be be avoided, or else the measuring site should be covered to prevent interference.