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Dogs’ surgery blood pressure risks linked to size, study finds
Dog that are brachycephalic, have poor health or slower heart rates are also at higher risk.
Smaller dogs are more likely to experience low blood pressure during surgery.

Research from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies has discovered links between the body weight of dogs, and their risk of low blood pressure under anaesthesia.

The evidence suggested that smaller dog breeds were at a higher risk of experiencing low blood pressure when they were under general anaesthetics.

The study, in collaboration with the PDSA, saw researchers examine the anaesthetic records of more than 1,700 dogs which had undergone surgical procedures. The data was collated from the Hospital for Small Animals at the University of Edinburgh’s records for 2018-2020.

Analysis discovered that dogs with a higher body mass also had lower odds of hypotension, or low blood pressure, when under anaesthesia. This could result in a reduced blood flow to their organs.

Dogs that are brachycephalic, have poor health or slower heart rates were also linked with an increased risk.

However, research also revealed that pre-anaesthetic medications and elevating the patient’s body pressure contributed to a lower risk of low blood pressure.

The research team has said their findings should heighten the awareness and preparedness of veterinary teams when performing procedures on vulnerable dogs.

The researchers say veterinary teams should monitor the blood pressure of dogs at higher risk closely during surgical or diagnostic procedures. This should include keeping treatment for hypotension readily accessible, particularly when treating small or brachycephalic dogs.

These new findings could support veterinary teams with reducing the risk of hypotension during canine surgery.

Dr Lucy Miller, a lecturer in veterinary anaesthesia who worked on the study, said: “Low blood pressure reduces blood flow to the organs, and this is something we’re keen to avoid.

“Our findings show that dogs of smaller body weight might be prone to episodes of low blood pressure. As anaesthesiologists, if we’re aware of that risk in advance we can be more prepared, know what to look out for and perhaps make changes to the anaesthetics we use or take preventative measures.”

The full study can be found in the Journal of Small Animal Practice.

Image © Shutterstock

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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

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News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.