3 pearls for stabilizing and monitoring critical patients

May 20, 2017
Portia Stewart, Editor, Team Channel Director
Portia Stewart, Editor, Team Channel Director

Portia Stewart is a pun-loving editor who spends her days arguing the differences between cats and commas (commas are a pause at the end of a clause, while cats have the claws at the end of the paws). She is a minion to two cats and a dog.

CVC Educator Kari Santoro Beer, DVM, DACVECC, of the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Philadelphia, offers these pearls for critical emergency patients.

Getty ImagesThe first few steps we take as technicians and veterinarians can be vital in providing lifesaving stabilization as well as obtaining diagnostic information, says CVC educator Kari Santoro Beer, DVM, DACVECC. Here are three quick takeaways from her CVC session.

Tip 1. In cases of acute hemorrhage, remember that patients will often have a normal to slightly high packed cell volume and low total solids concentration.


Tip 2. Recognize that the pulse oximeter is a finicky tool. If the patient's pulse rate isn't matching or isn't reading, the blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) level is likely not accurate. If you can't get a reading, don't let that change your plan.  


Tip 3. If you're using the oscillometric method to measure a patient's blood pressure, check out the heart rate. If it doesn't match, the reading probably isn't right!


Cuff size matters. It should be 40% of limb circumference for dogs, 30% for cats.


Too small = falsely high blood pressure. Too big = falsely low.


Bonus audience tip: Can't remember this? Here's help. Tight cuffs are like tight pants. If they're too tight your blood pressure will go up.