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Features March 2015 Issue

Your Dog on a Ventilator

An oxygen cage is the first line of defense for a dog who is having difficulty breathing. As this photo suggests, bulldogs are prone to respiratory disease.

Your Dog on a Ventilator

It’s not always the last step before death. It saves lives.

“When we suggest to clients that their dog should go on a ventilator, they’ll often ask, ‘Doesn’t that mean the prognosis is really bad?’” says Tufts emergency and critical care veterinarian Armelle de Laforcade, DVM. “And the truth is,” she adds, “if a dog is sick enough to be on a ventilator, she’s pretty sick. In fact, when we first got a ventilator years ago, we tended to put a dog on it right before she died as a last resort. So we, too, were left with the impression that it doesn’t work, doesn’t save lives. But we have found over time that if you think about the reasons to put a dog on a ventilator and you put her on early, it really is a useful tool to carry her over until she recovers from a bodily insult.”

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