What is it about?

The veterinary nurse or technician plays an important role in avian and exotic anaesthesia, oftentimes inducing, intubating, and maintaining an anaesthetic while the veterinary surgeon preps for a procedure. Intubation allows for better respiratory control while minimising the risk of aspiration and is particularly important for procedures lasting longer than thirty minutes, during which hypoventilation and respiratory obstruction are most likely to occur. Regardless of procedure length or complexity, intubation should be the routine standard of care if it can be done in a swift and safe manner.

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Why is it important?

Gone are the days of avian and exotic specialists being the only source of veterinary care for companion rodents; with an increase in the ownership of these species comes an increase in general practitioners undertaking routine or preventative health procedures. Owners of these pets expect the same standard of care afforded to dogs and cats, and consequently veterinary staff may be required to provide the same standard of intensive anaesthetic management.

Perspectives

Avian and exotic companion pet care is a passion of mine. Despite often being considered as "cheap" or "easily replaced", no companion pet life is worth more or less than another when it comes to the standard of veterinary care afforded to them. Exotic small mammals have a historically high incidence of anaesthetic deaths, which may be preventable through gaining respiratory access and control. I hope this article encourages veterinary professionals to attempt to do so for their next exotic mammal anaesthetic.

Iffy Glendinning
University of Queensland

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This page is a summary of: Endotracheal intubation of small exotic mammals, The Veterinary Nurse, July 2022, Mark Allen Group, DOI: 10.12968/vetn.2022.13.6.267.
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