Suggested Strategies for Ventilatory Management of Veterinary Patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome


Erika R. Mueller 50 Kearney Street Terryville, CT 06786


Objective: To review the current recommendations and guidelines for mechanical ventilation in humans and in animals with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Human data synthesis: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in humans in defined as an acute onset of bilateral, diffuse infiltrates on thoracic radiographs that are not the result of heart disease and a significant oxygenation impairment. These patients require mechanical ventilation. Research has shown that further pulmonary damage can occur as a result of mechanical ventilation. Various alveolar recruitment maneuvers and a low tidal volume with increased positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) have been associated with an increased survival.

Veterinary dat synthesis: Two veterinary reports have characterized ARDS in dogs using human criteria. There are no prospective veterinary studies using recruitment that ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) occurs in dogs, sheep, and rats.

Conclusion: Recruitment maneuvers in conjunction with low tidal volumes and PEEP keep the alveoli open for gas exchange and decrease VILI. Prospective veterinary research in needed to determine if these maneuvers and recommendation can be applied to veterinary patients.