If you want your veterinary practice to be a safe one, its important to keep your equipment in good shape-and that includes your anesthesia machine! Proper care will not only reduce the gas consumption of the machine but will also extend the life of it. Even more important is that it will keep the animals safer by reducing pollution. Having a capable veterinary anesthesia machine will make sure the animals are properly sedated and thus help to prevent the chance of suffering or pain during procedures. The following 3 tips will help you accomplish all of this:
Keep Things Clean
Your work environment involves sick animals, and those sicknesses can spread to the other animals via the machines, including the breathing bags and tubes. If you are using single use bags and tubes, then you should be ok. However, if your machines are using reusable bags and tubes then it is best to clean them after every use to prevent the spread of illness. A simple way to do this is to soak them in disinfectant solution for roughly 10 minutes. Be sure to check for cracks and holes on these parts regularly as they can wear out quickly.
Daily Checking For Leaks
Nearly all Anesthesia machine vendors will recommend that you do daily checks for any leaks. Its a simple process that should only take a few minutes and make sure things are running smoothly. Leaks will increase your costs but even more importantly they make cause unsafe levels of pollution for the vet nurses. Of course this also means that the animals aren't getting the proper level of sedation, so follow these simple steps when you start the day:
- connect the circuit hose to the fresh gas outlet and use your thumb to cover the hose
- Open the oxygen flowmeter to 200mL and shut the gas evacuation valve
- Hold down the oxygen flush button until the manometer shows a 30 cm H2O pressure
Try and get the pressure to be steady for about 10 seconds. If the pressure drops before then, it would indicate you have a leak and you need to find out where it is.
Test & Replace the Soda Lime
Soda Lime is a vital part of your anesthesia system because it contains a dye that changes color to indicate that carbon dioxide is being absorbed. Unfortunately, Soda lime has a pretty short life span. You will only have about 14 hours worth of it before it becomes unreliable. If you don't change the soda lime within a reasonable amount of time, the animal could start breathing in some of the carbon dioxide. It's recommended that you don't rely on the color change alone. If you want to test if its time to change it, put on some gloves and press a small amount between your fingers. If it is still ok to use, it will turn into a fine dust.
hopefully these tips have helped and you will be able to keep your practice fun and enjoyable while also keeping the animals safe!