WVC 91st Annual Conference
General Veterinary Technician Session: Respiratory distress is a very common form of emergency in veterinary medicine. The primary role of the respiratory system is to oxygenate and remove CO2 from the blood. Inability for patients to properly oxygenate blood and saturate hemoglobin (hypoxemia) will lead to inadequate delivery of oxygen to the tissues (hypoxia). In a hypoxic state, cellular energy production is shifted primarily to anaerobic metabolism, resulting in lactic acid buildup and acidemia (metabolic acidosis). In addition, insufficient alveolar ventilation will lead to an elevation in the arterial CO2 level, or hypercapnia. Hypercapnia leads to respiratory acidosis, decreases cardiac contractility, and depresses diaphragmatic function. Both of hypoxemia and hypercapnia, when allowed to persist, will lead to the demise of a patient and swift assessment of respiratory compromise is required for appropriate treatment. Learn more at this lecture.