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What is a monitor and why does it cost more to have my pet monitored?

Simply put, patients vary. This truth emphasizes the need for patient monitoring. Monitoring is simply the process of collecting data. These data are used by the anesthetist to formulate or modify the anesthetic plan to avoid or minimize risks to the patient similar to the way an airline pilot uses the cockpit instruments to monitor the functions of the aircraft and respond to abnormalities. Obviously, anesthetic risk is directly related to the adequacy and accuracy of data collection and the knowledge and skill of the anesthetist to utilize the information. Automated monitoring (pulse oximetry, ECG, arterial blood pressure, end-tidal carbon dioxide, arterial blood gases) provide more complete information and usually facilitate earlier detection of problems than manual monitoring alone (pulse palpation, mucous membrane color, respiration rate). Specialized situations often require specialized monitoring techniques and as veterinary surgery advances, so must veterinary anesthesia monitoring.

Patient monitors are a considerable investment for a veterinary practice. They will typically cost from $2000 to $20,000 depending on the number of parameters measured. In addition there are ongoing maintenance and disposable equipment costs.

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