Revolutionizing Equine Anesthesia at Littleton Equine

Administering anesthesia can be intense, that’s no secret. Whether it’s a routine castration, an elective orthopedic procedure, or midnight colic surgery, you want to be comfortable with your protocols and most importantly, your equipment.

At Littleton Equine Medical Center, we strive to provide the best personalized patient care, while cultivating an environment of knowledge leading to informed decisions and positive outcomes. Since 1950, Littleton Equine Medical Center has served as a full-service primary care, referral, and emergency veterinary hospital just outside of Denver, Colorado.

Challenges of Anesthetizing Foals

Spring time brings an influx of some of our smaller equine patients, foals. Despite being a joyous and adorable addition to any family herd, if they need to be anesthetized at an early age, they can present some difficulties to your team’s normal protocols. Until recently, we used a completely different ventilator for any patients too small for our Mallard 2800C 18 Liter Bellows.

This would require rolling the small animal machine into the OR, switching the O2 and scavenge lines, all while still using the surgical monitor attached to our Mallard. As if preparing for a foal anesthesia case isn’t nerve-racking enough, having to remember the ins and outs of a completely different machine can be just plain scary.

Introducing the Mallard Medical Pediatric Bellows Attachment (PBA)

Enter Mallard Medical Pediatric Bellows Attachment (PBA). After talking with the wonderful people at Mallard and learning our 2800C machine was compatible with the PBA (turns into a 2800CP), we immediately jumped on purchasing one.

The Mallard website provided so many video resources for installation, as well as how to pressure check and use the new ventilator once ready for use. Since the PBA uses the same control box and vaporizer, the transition between both ventilators was seamless. To switch from the large ventilator to the small ventilator is a simple 3-step process that takes 30 seconds or less.

Successful Cases with the PBA

Since the arrival and installation of the PBA, we have been able to use it in a variety of surgical cases. Our introductory case to the new ventilator was a 22-year-old mini horse presenting for colic. As soon as the owners made the decision to treat with surgical intervention, we got straight to work, double-checking each piece of our equipment would fit flawlessly together with our new attachment. Luckily, the procedure, anesthesia, and recovery went seamlessly, and excitement for our new ventilator steadily started to rise.

Emergency Surgery on a 3-Day-Old Foal

Our next case was a 3-day-old foal requiring emergency abdominal surgery. The colt was originally presented to us for diarrhea. After an uneventful 24 hours in our ICU, a sudden decrease in urine output was noted. Upon further diagnostics, an abdominal ultrasound confirmed uroperitoneum. Generally, I would be hesitant to run such a young foal with a serious emergent condition on a ventilator I have only used once. However, the ease of use, straightforward set-up, and benefits of the PBA far outweighed my reservations.

In fact, by the end of the surgery, I felt more comfortable using the Mallard PBA than the old ventilator I had used for the past 3 years. Our ability to quickly switch our Mallard from the larger bellows to the pediatric bellows made all the difference for our critical patient. With help from adequate ventilation, our anesthesia team was able to keep the patient stable and anesthetized while the veterinarians worked diligently to complete the surgery.

The patient recovered beautifully from anesthesia and was happily reunited with his mother. After a few short days of positive post-op progress, we were able to remove the urinary catheter and continue on to the next stages of his recovery and development.

Achieving Excellence with Mallard Medical

The use of the Mallard Large Animal Ventilator and now the addition of the Pediatric Bellows has helped us achieve our promise to our clients of providing unmatched dedication and quality of care for our patients. Using Mallard Medical has vastly improved our ability to safely anesthetize our patients of varying sizes. I guess you could say Mallard has made performing equine anesthesia less stressFoal.

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