90th FVMA Annual Conference
Respiratory distress can be one of the most stressful situations to manage. It is key to recognize respiratory distress in a patient and to embrace that the first-line treatment for all of these cases is oxygen and sedation. There are a multitude of ways to provide oxygen, many of them needing only readily available supplies, and each method has its own pros and cons. Cling wrap can be quite versatile for these patients, allowing modification of a standard cage into an oxygen cage or converting an e-collar into an oxygen hood. Sedation can help reduce patient stress, work of breathing, and oxygen requirements and butorphanol is universally a good choice as it is cardiovascularly sparing. Acepromazine may also be added for patients with upper airway obstruction and no contraindications. Differentials can often quickly be made based on species, breed, a few physical exam findings and a brief history. An initial treatment plan can be made based on the most likely differentials, potentially with significant impact. Timing of additional diagnostics, such as radiographs, should be carefully chosen so as not to create more patient distress. In cases with pleural effusion or a pneumothorax, thoracocentesis may be beneficial both diagnostically and therapeutically and should be considered.