Almost every living being on earth needs to breathe oxygen, so humans are certainly not the single group who might face the challenges of breathing problems. As the closest animals to us, our pets may also suffer from different respiratory problems. Inhaling normal air (21% oxygen concentration) can not provide enough oxygen for those with poor cardiopulmonary or respiratory functions to sustain their lives. In this case, supplemental oxygen is necessary. Once you discover any signs of possible breathing problems, don't hesitate to take them to the vet for a comprehensive examination, after which you are usually prescribed oxygen therapy.
What is oxygen therapy for pets?
Oxygen therapy is a treatment that involves the administration of oxygen to an animal through various methods, such as a face mask, nasal cannula, or ventilator. It is often used to treat animals with respiratory problems like pneumonia, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can also be used to treat animals with other conditions that cause low oxygen levels in the body, such as heart failure or anemia.
If your pet is prescribed oxygen therapy, it is important to follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully. This may include using the oxygen delivery device as directed, monitoring your pet's oxygen levels, and reporting any changes in your pet's condition to your veterinarian.
It is also important to keep in mind that oxygen therapy can be potentially hazardous if not used properly. Be sure to handle the oxygen equipment carefully and keep it out of reach of children and other pets. If you have any concerns or questions about your pet's oxygen therapy, be sure to contact your veterinarian.
When to use oxygen therapy for your pets?
Many people missed the golden time for treatment because they didn't realize that their pets had respiratory problems. Your pets don't talk to you. So you must learn to recognize the signs of potential problems as early as possible. The following tips can give you some guidance.
Listen for noises.
Airway noises are probably the most distinct sign. Normally, your pet should not be making much noise while breathing. For dogs, sounds like stridor, stertor, and honking noises can be evidence of possible disease. While for cats it will be wheezes. Pay attention to these abnormal sounds and see if they are made constantly. In addition, it would be helpful to know what your pets normally sound like so that you can spot any differences much more easily.
Count the number of breaths of your pets in one minute. The normal breath rate should be around 40 times per minute. If the number is drastically different from that, pay attention. However, the judgment should be made under different conditions. The breath rate can be quite low sometimes. A sleeping pet can have a breath rate as low as less than 15 times per minute. Usually, it is okay to have a much lower breath rate than the standard unless your pet has been diagnosed with problems that can result in low breath rates. High breath rates, on contrary, are usually more dangerous. First, make sure that you didn't get the number when your pet was cooling down from excitement or fierce activities. Under normal situations, if its breath rate far exceeds 40 times per minute, the possibility of having respiratory diseases is high.
It is also important to observe if your pets are making a great effort for breathing. It can be checked through their chest movement. When your pets are having trouble breathing, they will breathe much more frequently and their chest will be distinctively more exaggerated. Other signs of extra breathing effort also include unusual postures and open mouth (if not for cooling). Watch out for these signs.
Blue gums or tongue
Hypoxemia caused by respiratory problems usually leads to “cyanotic”, which refers to blue tints on the tongue or gums of your pet. This certain part of tissue turns blue due to the lack of oxygen in the blood.
How to get oxygen therapy for your pets？
It's not troublesome to get oxygen therapy for your pets. You can apply it at home with an oxygen concentrator and an oxygen chamber instead of going to the vet. An oxygen concentrator is more recommended for providing oxygen than oxygen tanks because it can constantly generate high-concentration oxygen without having to be refilled or replaced. If you also have a need for supplemental oxygen on the go, a portable oxygen concentrator and an oxygen mask are very convenient for outside use or short time servings at home.