Every time we do a procedure that requires anaesthetic, we use the Henry Schein pulse oximeter. Luckily, we don’t have too many emergencies or many animals struggling with their oxygen level, but for daily routine procedures and dentals, this unit is essential.
What’s good about it
It’s a useful piece of equipment to have in the hospital. While nothing replaces a full physical assessment and clinical monitoring, it’s very handy for identifying changes in heart rate and oxygenation levels. We also use it with patients that come in with breathing difficulties, such as cardiac failure cases.
It has a clip that can be attached to the digits, ear, tongue or lip. If it can pick up a pulse and there’s adequate blood flow, then it will display the pulse rate and the oxygen saturation of the blood. It gives us more information in case we’re worried about the oxygenation ability of the animal.
When an animal is under anaesthetic, there is an audible sound tracking the pulse rate and oxygenation saturation. The alarm can be set at a specific range so that it sounds if the rate drops too low. The reading is displayed on a screen at all times but it’s nice to have the audible back-up when concentrating on a specific procedure.
We get quite a lot of use out of this pulse oximeter in our practice. It’s a great piece of equipment.
What’s not so good
If the clip slips off the measuring site or the pulse quality isn’t great at the measuring site, it can give inaccurate readings. It’s a great adjunct tool but we must always look at the colour of the animal’s gums, listen to the heart directly with a stethoscope and do a thorough clinical assessment at regular intervals. You should never entirely rely on just a pulse oximeter.