For treatment of hypoxemia, delivery of the minimum effective oxygen flow rate is advantageous during field anesthesia because it prolongs the life of the oxygen cylinder. Portable oxygen concentrators as the oxygen source require less logistical considerations than cylinders and are a safer alternative during helicopter field work because they are nonexplosive devices. The objective of this study was to evaluate low oxygen flow rates by continuous or pulsed intranasal delivery for treatment of hypoxemia in anesthetized white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Nine captive adult female deer (body mass 56–72 kg) were physically restrained in a drop-floor chute and hand injected intramuscularly with medetomidine (0.1–0.14 mg/kg) and ketamine (2.5–4.3 mg/kg). Intranasal oxygen was delivered from an oxygen cylinder at continuous flow rates of 1 and 2 L/min or from a battery driven oxygen concentrator (EverGoTM Portable Oxygen Concentrator, Respironics®) with pulse-dose delivery (maximum capacity of 1.05 L/min). The pulse-dose setting (pulse volume 12–70 ml) was adjusted according to the respiratory rate. Arterial blood gases were analyzed before, during, and after O2 supplementation. A 10-min washout period was allowed between treatment groups. All three treatments adequately treated hypoxemia. The partial pressure of arterial oxygenation increased significantly from baseline values of 55 ± 10 to 115 ± 31 mm Hg during supplementation from the oxygen concentrator, to 138 ± 21 mm Hg during supplementation from the oxygen cylinder at 1 L/min, and to 201 ± 42 mm Hg at 2 L/min. In conclusion, low flow rates of intranasal oxygen supplemented continuously from an oxygen cylinder or by pulsed delivery from a portable oxygen concentrator effectively treated hypoxemia in anesthetized white-tailed deer.
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