Caring for your anesthetic unit and veterinary dental monitoring equipment - DVM
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Caring for your anesthetic unit and veterinary dental monitoring equipment
Tips and tricks to ensure you don't ruin this essential, expensive equipment


Breathing bag and breathing circuit

The breathing bag and breathing circuit should be washed and hung to dry after each procedure. If a bag or circuit is used continually without being cleaned, disease and infections could be passed to other patients. TIP: If a tear in a bag or breathing circuit appears, that particular bag or circuit should be replaced. Taping the circuit or bag may continue to allow a leak in the system and waste oxygen and the inhalant drug.

Carbon dioxide absorber

Carbon dioxide absorbent granules are designed to scrub the expired gases of carbon dioxide, and the reaction causes the granular absorbent material to change color (bluish gray or purple) as a visual guide. However, this absorbent material will be depleted after only a matter of hours, and the material will return almost to its original color overnight—a phenomenon known as regeneration. Depleted granules are hard to the touch and not easily crushed when pressed between the fingers when compared with fresh absorbent material. Also, channeling of gases may occur, leaving the visible granules against the sides of the canister fresh, while the gases pass through the expired granules in the center, sending the carbon dioxide back to the patient. TIP: Keep a log sheet next to the machine, and replace the absorbent material after every six to eight hours of use.


To ensure the accuracy of anesthesia delivery, the vaporizer should be professionally serviced every year. Some companies have an exchange program in which they send you a reconditioned vaporizer in exchange for the one in current use. Failure to do so could result in patients being too light (and waking up during the procedure) or too deep, compromising their vital organs. TIP: In most cases, the vaporizers cannot be serviced in the field since this needs to be done in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment.

Who pays?

Now on all of our invoices there is a line item for hourly anesthesia monitoring. This allows our practice to update and maintain our anesthesia and monitoring equipment and accessories. Everyone wins.


I'd like to thank Andrew Schultz, director of Monitoring and Critical Care, Midmark Animal Health, as a key source for this article.

Dr. Bellows owns ALL PETS DENTAL in Weston, Fla. He is a diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. He can be reached at (954) 349-5800; e-mail:


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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