The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine is one of four veterinary schools in the United States that offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy to animals. A 45-minute session costs $280 at Rape Animal Hospital, a community-owned nonprofit.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) can be used in a number of areas of medical practice. It is a conventional primary or complementary therapy that is able to increase the oxygen supply to diseased tissue. The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine has two active hyperbaric chambers, one for small animals and one for big animals.
Despite such studies, the medical establishment appears to remain skeptical about the effectiveness of this thrilling intervention and its off-label focuses. It is hoped that a review and discussion of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) and the literature on its use will be useful for physicians who are unsure if their patients will benefit from this potentially life-saving intervention. Clinicians often ask if their patients do not understand the mechanisms.
Hyperbaric chambers have been used for decades to treat divers, burn victims and people with traumatic injuries, but also in the US are used for sick pets. Doctors at University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine have used oxygen chambers for dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and at least one monkey. Hyperbaric therapy is a method of treating diseases and injuries using a pressure higher than the local air pressure within a pressure chamber.
Veterinarian Professor Justin Shmalberg says the capsules were used to treat animals bitten by rattlesnakes, hit by cars and infected with wounds. Richmond Animal Hospital uses a therapy designed to speed up healing in humans to treat dogs and cats. The rare hyperbaric oxygen chamber, where animals are opened in Richmondâs pressure oxygen environment, helps provide more oxygen to the diseased tissue to help heal it faster than dogs or cats.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is defined by the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) as a treatment in which the patient inhales 100% oxygen in a treatment chamber under pressure above sea level (1 atmosphere) with absolute pressure increases systemic and applied in monoplastic single or multiple chambers. John Razzano, President of Christophers Veterinary Health, stated, "We are proud to offer our veterinary oxygen chamber at Woodhaven Animal Hospital. In veterinary hyperbaric medicine, the patient is placed in a large chamber filled with 100% oxygen at a pressure of 1.5 to 3 times the normal air pressure.
In a multi-site chamber, compressed air oxygen is released through a face mask, hood, tent, endotracheal tube or monoplastic chamber, which is pressurized with oxygen. In a single or one-man chamber, the patient continuously breathes oxygen in the chamber, and in several places this is done without a mask. At 20 ATA the oxygen content in the blood increases by 25% and enough oxygen is dissolved in the plasma to cover tissue needs. The absence of hemoglobin which binds oxygen increases the oxygen tension in the tissue by ten times at 1,000% (Staple and Clement, 1996).
Shmalberg says the high-pressure atmosphere of pure oxygen seems to help reduce swelling and assist healing times. He adds that schools will begin clinical trials this summer to determine whether compression chambers are effective in speeding up the recovery and healing of animals. Providing 100% oxygen at this pressure allows the plasma to transport more oxygen, reducing the importance of hemoglobin-based supply.1 100% of the dissolved oxygen in the plasma is released to the capillary tissue three times faster than when transporting hemoglobin alone. 19 Increased barometric pressure from 10 atA to 20 to 25 atA increases dissolved oxygen in plasma three times compared to a patient breathing air.
Oxygen levels in the calf muscle were measured immediately after injury and 30 hours after injury in the experimental HBO chamber. The concentration in the HBO chamber increased to 540 mmHg and decreased to 45 mmHg at the end of the experiment (Fig. Thirty hours is the required concentration to recover in the untreated group without HBO to the level before the contusion.
Pressure dissolves the gas in the solution, reduces the bubbles and reduces the diffusion distance. The pressure between them increases the amount of oxygen in the patient's blood to 15 times the normal level.
Current oxygen costs for operating a small monoplastic chamber can range from $1 to $40 per treatment session, depending on type of chamber, duration of session and pressure exerted by the oxygen delivery system.
The owner of the Animal Emergency Referral Center in Fort Pierce, Florida does not treat horses, dogs or cats, which constitute the majority of patients in his practices. Instead of using a chamber made for veterinary medicine, Ronald Lyman bought one designed for humans when he bought a hospital near New York. He describes oxygen therapy as an enormous clinical tool that can change the outcome of many medical cases, especially when patients with pancreatitis are referred.