In conjunction with o2vet, we became the first vet clinic in the South Island to install a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can be defined as a treatment where a patient breathes 100% oxygen while inside a treatment chamber at a pressure higher than sea level.
While breathing pure oxygen at increased pressure, the normal haemoglobin mechanism for carrying oxygen is quickly saturated. The extra oxygen is then dissolved into the blood plasma, which greatly increases the availability of oxygen to the body’s tissues and cells.
HBOT is most often used as an “adjunctive treatment” except for certain emergencies such as divers with decompression sickness. This means that it is employed in conjunction with other forms of treatment and is a part of your total medical treatment or care regimen.
Oxygen Therapy Can Speed Up the Healing Process
During HBOT the increased levels of oxygen can reach 12-15 times more than normal and this helps to promote natural healing at a much greater rate.This increase in oxygen remains in the tissues for up to five hours post-chamber. Also, the hyper-oxygenation facilitates the white blood cell killing of microbes, as well as inhibiting anaerobic bacteria, so that infectious conditions can be more easily controlled. Treatment usually takes between 60-80 minutes daily, with an average of three to six sessions being required.
Veterinarians most frequently use the chambers for cases of severe tissue damage, infection, bone fractures (as the extra oxygen stimulates new bone cell activity), as well as for brain/nerve damage and arthritis.
An added advantage of this procedure is that it is well tolerated. The chamber, while being pressurised, warms up to a comfortable 20ºC and animals are also calmed by the flow of oxygen coming into the chamber. Many cats and dogs will curl up and go to sleep during the session.
Afterwards they are usually vitalized by the experience and sick animals previously not eating have been observed to be eating again within an hour of treatment. A fully trained technician monitors the treatment throughout the process visually and via an audio system.