Measurement of respiratory system compliance and respiratory system resistance in healthy dogs undergoing general anaesthesia for elective orthopaedic procedures


Carl Bradbrook, University of Liverpool, School of Veterinary Science, Leahurst Campus, Chester High Road, Neston, Wirral, CH64 7TE, UK. E-mail:


Objective  The aim of this study was to investigate normal values for the dynamic compliance of the respiratory system (Crs) and respiratory system resistance (Rrs) in mechanically ventilated anaesthetized dogs.

Study design  Prospective clinical study.

Animals  Forty healthy dogs undergoing elective orthopaedic surgery. Body weight was (mean ± SD) 26.8 ± 10.7 kg (range: 1.9–45.0 kg), age 4.7 ± 2.9 years (range: 0.1–10.6 years).

Methods  Dogs were premedicated with acepromazine and methadone administered intramuscularly and anaesthesia induced with propofol intravenously. After endotracheal intubation the dog's lungs were connected to an appropriate breathing system depending on body weight and isoflurane in oxygen administered for maintenance of anaesthesia. The lungs were ventilated mechanically with variables set to maintain normocapnia (end-tidal carbon dioxide concentration 4.7–6.0 kPa). Peak inspiratory pressure, Crs, Rrs, tidal volume, respiratory rate and positive end-expiratory pressure were recorded at 5, 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after start of mechanical ventilation. Cardiovascular variables were recorded at time of collection of respiratory data.

Results  General additive modeling revealed the following relationships: Crs = [0.895 × body weight (kg)] + 8.845 and Rrs = [−0.0966 × body weight (kg)] + 6.965. Body weight and endotracheal tube diameter were associated with Crs (< 0.001 and = 0.002 respectively) and Rrs (p = 0.017 and = 0.002 respectively), body weight being linearly related to Crs and inversely to Rrs.

Conclusion and clinical relevance  Body weight was linearly related to Crs while Rrs has an inverse linear relationship with body weight in mechanically ventilated dogs. The derived values of Crs and Rrs may be used for monitoring of lung function and ventilation in healthy dogs under anaesthesia.