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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

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The University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine is one of four colleges of veterinary medicine that provides hyperbaric oxygen therapy for animals in the United States. The College has two active hyperbaric chambers, one for small and one for large animals.

How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Delivered and How Does It Work?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a conventional, primary or complementary therapy that is capable of significantly increasing the oxygen delivery to diseased tissues. Most diseases, regardless of the cause, will produce low oxygen concentrations in the affected tissues. Low oxygen concentrations adversely affect a multitude of tissue functions and also the treatments provided to combat a particular disease.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is delivered by placing the patient in a chamber that allows the patient to breath 100% oxygen while under a prescribed increased surrounding pressure. This allows the blood to deliver a significantly higher concentration of oxygen to the tissues. Hyperbaric oxygen can not only treat specific diseases but also promotes general tissue healing and the salvage of cells that would die without adequate oxygen.

What Are Uses for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

In general, any condition or disease in which the circulation to the diseased tissue has been compromised will benefit from this therapy. There are many indications for the use of hyperbaric oxygen treatments including but not limited to; wounds, burns, failing grafts, infectious diseases, neurologic diseases, blood loss anemia, traumatic injuries, smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide toxicity, athletic injuries, pancreatitis, venomous bites, shock, infertility, and many more.

Are There Risks Associated With The Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Animals?

The risks associated are very minimal if it is properly applied. As with any drug therapy, there are occasions where unanticipated reactions occur, but these are very rare. Thousands of animals have been successfully treated with this therapy. The incidence of side effects is also minimal and is minimized by proper dosing, frequency, and duration of pressure and oxygen and proper compression and decompression procedures.

How do I know if my animal would benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

The veterinarians at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center and at other hyperbaric centers are good resources for consultation on the use of hyperbaric therapy in animals. We continue to develop studies to review all the potential uses for this beneficial, cutting edge therapy in animals.