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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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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."