Fluid pumps it up

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"We couldn't practice medicine properly without fluid pumps," says Dr. Robert Esplin, owner of Sylvania Veterinary Hospital in Sylvania, Ohio.

"We couldn't practice medicine properly without fluid pumps," says Dr. Robert Esplin, owner of Sylvania Veterinary Hospital in Sylvania, Ohio.

Dr. Robert Esplin

Fluid pumps deliver intravenous fluids at a consistent, specified rate, which is especially important for animals that need these fluids for an extended period of time. Without these pumps animals can become overhydrated, Dr. Esplin says.

Sylvania Veterinary Hospital purchased its first fluid pump about 13 years ago. Now the six-doctor practice keeps 15 pumps in the clinic for fluids and blood from the hospital's blood bank.

Until now, the hospital has purchased reconditioned human models. "We've found they're reliable, and they were only costing $350 to $450," Dr. Esplin says.

Now, with the cost of a reconditioned two-patient pump as high as $1,100, Dr. Esplin says he'll begin phasing out the human pumps and buy new, more compact, single-patient veterinary pumps.

When it comes to pricing the service, the hospital charges $15 for the first day a pump is used and $10 per subsequent day. That means the team at Sylvania Veterinary Hospital doesn't need to use pumps many times before breaking even.

"There are times when all of our pumps are in use. And we can't leave an animal on a pump without supervision, so our overnight staff members monitor the patient and the pump," Dr. Esplin says. "It can look like an IV-stand jungle, but it's good to know that our patients always get the appropriate amount of fluid."

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