Anesthesia equipment is used to safely sedate animals so they’re asleep during medical procedures such as dental cleanings, exploratory exams and surgeries.

Your opportunity 

Commissions on $1,700 to $5,000 in anesthesia equipment, plus vaporizers and supplies

Anesthesia equipment is used to administer agents or drugs that temporarily provide sedation so an animal won’t move or feel pain during a medical procedure. Basic inhalation anesthesia machines deliver a controlled amount of an anesthetic agent mixed with oxygen, and provide a method of assisting the patient’s breathing. Veterinarians can reduce the level of patient risk by using modern, fully functioning anesthesia equipment and by developing patientspecific protocols for anesthetic and vital signs monitoring.

Help practices evaluate their options by understanding the age of their current equipment, the procedures (and how many) they perform, how they supply oxygen, how they dispose of waste gas, and which monitoring and other peripheral equipment (e.g., dental carts) are used in the care zone.


Equipment at a glance 

All anesthesia machines include the same four components:

• Gas source (typically oxygen)

• Gas pressure regulator

• Flowmeter that controls the amount of gas to the patient

• Vaporizer that delivers a concentration of the anesthetic agent to the patient.

Recent improvements in anesthesia equipment have led to improved patient safety. For example, occlusion valves make it possible for veterinarians to close the APL valve (used to manage excess waste gas) with the touch of a button. (Previously, they’d have to turn a dial to close the valve and then remember to open it to avoid over-pressurizing the machine and putting the patient at risk.)

In modern surgical suites, the staff uses patient monitoring equipment to make sure vital signs aren’t compromised during sedation. These include machines that monitor heart rate and blood pressure, the amount of carbon dioxide being expelled during breathing and the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Well-maintained anesthesia equipment can last many years, but machines do break down and must be replaced to avoid risking patient and staff safety. For instance, covering holes in breathing circuits with porous medical tape is not sufficient to prevent waste gas expired by the patient from leaking into the clinic!

• Quality anesthesia equipment ranges in price depending on the accessories needed and the sophistication level required for measuring oxygen and anesthetic agents. Higher-priced units generally are constructed of high quality materials that last longer, are less likely to leak, and often include safety features, technical support and compliance to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) manufacturing standards.

• Patient monitoring options include a vital signs monitor designed to measure parameters such as blood pressure, temperature and oxygen saturation in the blood. Other products that can aid veterinarians in their patients’ recovery include fluid pumps and patient warming devices.

• Peripheral equipment includes Sodalime, Breath Fresh canisters, endotracheal tubes, anesthesia masks, anesthesia mask diaphragms, anesthesia circuit, breathing bags, roll gauze and endotrach tube tie-downs.