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.
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